Why Consumer Engagement, Cross-Platform Marketing and Transmedia Campaigns Should All Be Part of Your Planning Discussions for 2012
A LOOK AT 2012
As we approach the end of 2011, we’ve been huddled in meetings to review budgets, determine our next priorities, and decide where to invest our time and money in the New Year. We’ve done all of this to ensure that we successfully adapt with the direction of marketing and new consumer behaviors. So what is in store for TRG and our clients in 2012? Although a crystal ball would prove to be convenient, we’ve relied on extensive research and spirited discussions about what our clients should be considering for their 2012 campaigns. Here is where our exchanges seem to be netting out: (drum roll please)
1) CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT WILL RULE 2O12
Consumer Engagement will rule 2012. Period. If you aren’t engaging in a meaningful way with your customers, you aren’t really reaching them and they likely aren’t really listening. Messages are now barraging consumers wherever they turn. They have more ways to communicate with each other than every before. They can and will share their thoughts from anywhere they are at any time of the day. This means that spending will be up in non-traditional areas of marketing as clients realize the importance of cross-platform engagement as a “must have” not “nice to have” complement to traditional marketing.
2) MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS = REAL RELATIONSHIPS
2012 will be the year that marketers will finally realize that just being where your consumers are is not enough. You actually have to form a real relationship with them and the key to all successful relationships is open communication. Where does this start – a conversation is the first step. Not just one, but meaningful, ongoing conversations. Don’t forget that conversation go two ways. And to truly be engaged, your consumer will want to invite others to join in your conversation and be further connected to each other through your brand promise.
3) THEY LIKE YOU, NOW WHAT
One of the conversations we had most in 2011 was how can we get more likes or follows on our brand pages. We think these important questions, but we believe it is only part of the discussion that needs to be had. It really should be “how do we get the like and then continue to earn their loyalty through consistent, relevant conversations and tools that enhance their lives or provide stronger and or new connections.” Maybe you’ve drawn them in through a sweepstakes. Maybe they’ve signed up for mobile interaction. Once in your community, is there compelling content that is fresh and interesting? Have you given them the tools to talk to you and to each other? Do you have a team that can respond to their comments? Are you building out a group of consumers that are loyal to your brand and on the path to become your biggest influencers?
As marketers, instead of being overwhelmed by the growth of social media, we should be thankful for the opportunity it provides us as marketers to do what we should be doing best — talking and listening and converting consumers into passionate customers.
4) SEAMLESS INTEGRATION OF EFFORTS
This next year, the number of ways that we can engage consumers will not only increase, but their effectiveness will improve. Thank you 2012 for the ability to finally look at transmedia storytelling campaigns that will work if we are strategic about it! Seamless integration of the platforms available, along with a 30,000 foot strategic view is what our 360° Connect at TRG is all about. If you are working with multiple agencies, this is the year to make sure that they are communicating, “commiserating”, brainstorming and maximizing their efforts as a whole. Gone are the days of silo’d agencies and marketing elements. When consumers are being messaged through multiple touch points, the messaging must work together to truly be meaningful and honest to a consumer. Otherwise they’ll walk away, rolling their eyes saying, “likely story!?”
5) RETAIL IMPLEMENTATION
Retail efforts in 2012 will be worth paying extra attention to. We are all working in a recession and whether it is fighting for retail space or just sales, it needs to be part of your plans in the coming year. When you are working with clients with a retail presence, you need to be working with all parts of their retail team – sales, marketing, shopper marketing, etc. We mention this because we feel it’s our responsibility as marketers to make sure that as partners to our clients we provide them with the materials needed to create excitement and buy-in to their marketing plans at every level of their organization. Again, our 360° Connect theory in action.
6) REWARDING CONSUMER IN 2012
If we have learned nothing else in 2011, it is that consumers want more than just a good product. Consumers want to be rewarded for being loyal customers. Who doesn’t love a sale, a coupon, or even better free shipping? They want to feel like a VIP and be rewarded with special savings, unique products, and loyalty points. Don’t forget the extra sweeps entries, a discount code, a special offer or a donation to a favorite charity. When our consumers sign up for a mailing list, they aren’t just sharing information with us – They are giving us the opportunity to engage with them in a more personal space and share our brand with others. And what are these rewards really costing marketers? Not much. A good brand can be seen as a great brand if they take advantage of these capabilities and have them work together to create a 360-degree experience.
7) EMBRACING AN EXCITING 2012
What is exciting about 2012 is that we have more ways to reach consumers than any year prior. We have consumers who are excited and looking to engage with our brands along with digital and technological advances that make holding engaging conversations with our customers easier than ever. When as marketers we do our jobs right, 2012 will present us with challenges that we will beat, new marketing innovations and much success.
Happy New Year to all of you and yours!