In today’s mobile world, marketing communications have become a 24/7 affair. There are countless ways to interact with consumers, which has made it increasingly difficult to determine what consumers prefer. According to ExactTarget vice president of marketing research Jeff Rohrs, the rise of post-PC devices have accelerated the fragmentation of once-reliable direct marketing channels.
“As businesses seek to maximise their marketing ROI, it is crucial to stay in tune with what consumers want, as they can make or break a brand’s prosperity,” he said.
Rohrs says it’s important for businesses to monitor trends across all channels as consumer’s habits continue to evolve. Increased use of a particular communication channel, however, does not mean that consumers necessarily want to receive marketing in that way. So how’s a brand meant to choose the most effective marketing channel?
Here are six factors that influence consumers’ marketing channel preferences. Your businesses should keep in mind:
1. Content: Is this a marketing message? Consumers don’t want to be friends with brands, and draw strong lines between marketing messages and personal communications.
2. Immediacy: Do I need to send or receive this message right away? If your message is imperative, from the consumer’s perspective, then ‘urgent’ channels such as text messaging, telephone, and instant messaging will perform best. If not, consider moving communications to less urgent channels.
3. Accessibility: Will my customer need to reference this message later? The ability to easily archive and access messages at a later time influences consumer channel preferences. Email remains a powerful channel for its ability to bridge the three-device environment of smartphone, tablet, and PC.
4. Privacy: Do I want the world to know about this message? Where privacy is crucial, consumers gravitate towards channels with an established track record of protecting conversations (such as text messaging, telephone, and email). Where privacy is not a concern, consumers happily embrace social channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
5. Formality: Do I need to convey a level of professionalism with this message? When a task such as job hunting calls for a degree of formality, consumers favour more established channels. Facebook is first and foremost meant for socialising.
6. Invitation: How did the conversation originate? If the consumer initiates communication with your brand, then the channel they choose may be deemed appropriate for response. However, the nature of the conversation may necessitate that you move it from a public space (Twitter, for instance) to a private one (Twitter direct message or email).