New advertising mediums constantly emerge as technology develops. A quick glance at the evolution of marketing mediums serves to illustrate this. For a long time advertising was more or less limited to print, radio and TV.
However, the last two decades have seen the emergence of new customer interaction channels: digital display and search on the Internet, social networking and video sharing platforms, integrated infrastructures and ecosystems (like Amazon), smartphones, and mobile applications. Total ad spend tends to stay relatively constant, however: marketers are shifting spend to where the customers are. This means that more marketing budget is now being allocated to these new customer interaction channels. Where audiences go, ad spend follows.
Walled gardens: changing the game
Currently it’s the so-called “walled gardens” attracting the most users. These are platforms like Facebook, where all content publication and marketing interactions occur within a closed ecosystem. The provider sets the rules and hosts all the third-party content published there. The crucial element here is that walled gardens require people to log in first. This is an important shift.
It means that these providers can link all interactions to specific users. They can build vast data sets around each user, knowing exactly who they are, along with their interests and desires. This is extremely powerful from an advertising point of view.
Consumers may participate across multiple channels, but to them it feels like a singular brand experience.
The customer has a singular view
The paradox that marketers must embrace is that, while they may see each of these marketing channels as discreet, this is not the customer’s experience. Consumers may participate across multiple channels, but to them it feels like a singular brand experience.
This means that all interactions have to be in line with the central brand values and personality. Users must always receive a consistent brand experience no matter what channels they use. Brands need to ensure this, while simultaneously crafting different messaging to suit whichever channel will propagate it, and the ways in which people use those channels.
Digital technology is indispensable
Previously, a marketer might only have needed an email tool to conduct and entire customer relationship. By the same token, concentrating on banner ad campaigns alone may have sufficed.
This focus on selected channels no longer works; consumers use whichever channel is most convenient. You need technologies to use all of these channels from a central control point, so that you can interact across them in a way that gives the customer a consistent experience of your brand. This holds true for the entire customer lifespan, from prospect to long-term retention and advocacy.
The digital technology gap
Current digital technologies, despite their efficacy in managing these channels, are still not sufficient. Brands need overarching technology to integrate the data from all these different channels, intelligently analyse it, and respond effectively, using the unique traits of each channel, while still retaining a consistent brand experience for the customer across all of them. They need operational control over the user’s brand experience, to orchestrate as much of the experience as possible. The real power and value lie in this operational element: the tools may be potent, but will not be truly effective without a supporting operating model.
Holism is the key
What emerges is the need for a cohesive marketing technology ecosystem that provides a consistent brand experience across all channels; contains tools to gather, optimise and analyse data from each channel; and operationally controls everything according to your business strategy. This is the way to ensure maximum ROI from all consumer interactions, across all channels, while providing a homogeneous customer experience.