By Gary Spirer
Most chief marketing officers should have their title changed to Chief Monologue Officer. That’s the state of marketing today: marching lock-step to the beat of traditional, one-way army-like officers who think they know what their prospects and customers want better than the customers’ themselves.
Prospects and customers are overwhelmed with too much information. Rather than pulling customers into the fold, marketers are pushing them away with relentless and ill-conceived efforts to engage.
With the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, prospects and customers are deciding amongst themselves what they want to buy and are tuning out the traditional one-way channels such as TV, radio, billboards and other push media campaigns. Ironically, studies show consumers want to engage and voice their opinions with brands they find appealing. But, 84 percent of companies are stone-deaf to customers’ voices. Brands mistakenly assume they can still dominate and control the one-way monologue.
Prospects and customers not only desire to converse in real-time with brands but also want to be incentivized with discounts, coupons, contests and games to express opinions and give personal information about themselves. To stay engaged with brands, customers demand an uplifting experience keeping them emotionally involved with the brand and its community.
A Corporate Executive Board survey of 7,000 marketing executives and consumers asked each of them to rank what they thought was most important reason consumers stayed engaged with the company’s brands and communities. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, 61 percent of the marketers selected as the top reason, “belonging to the community.” Only 22 percent of the consumers agreed – they had little interest in having a relationship beyond the merely transactional. The consumers ranked as their number one reason for engaging with the brand as getting discounts, information and buying things.
Many marketers fail to recognize and embrace this seismic shift from a monologue to an interactive digital dialogue in order to engage and maintain customer loyalty. This shift affects every single budget, process, or department in any company. Forrester Researcher, Melissa Parrish, in a recent Forbes article wrote a “failure to adapt to these new market conditions will result in a drop of profits at best and, at worst, will make your company irrelevant.” Parrish notes marketing to the perpetually connected will mean companies will have to overhaul their technology – all of it – from consumer-facing digital products, services, and enhancement or support for existing products to the technology all employees are equipped with to in-store technology to the sales process and delivery chain.
How do today’s marketers succeed in real-time uncontrolled interactions with customers? Here are some ideas:
Create a great customer-experience; make it meaningful, strive for happy customers and be the chief conversation innovator that everyone wants to follow as revenues, reputation and profits explode upward.
Gary Spirer, Questionmine.com’s CEO, is an entrepreneur/investment banker/crowdfunding/raising capital expert. Questionmine is an interactive Q&A video and mobile video marketing, advertising and e-commerce automation platform that generates real-time metrics and analytics. www.questionmine.com
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