By Jeff Gaudet, President, Hawk Marketing Services
[The following article appeared in this month's issue of Progrès Magazine]
DISCOVERY, ENGAGEMENT, CONVERSION. Three industry buzz words which in isolation have very different meanings, however when brought together can serve as the platform for any business or brand to establish an integrated communication strategy. Let’s be honest, the digital landscape in 2016 has changed how we communicate in all facets of life. Whether you frequent digital platforms as a consumer or marketer, the world as you knew it has changed drastically and will continue to as technology evolves and new tools and platforms surface daily. For many, it’s both unclear and over-whelming. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be.
Questions I hear most often from clients, “with so many social channels now accessible, how do I know which to focus on?” or “I’m investing in digital, how do I know if it’s working?” Both fair questions and truth is, no one right answer for either. That’s why we often attempt to elevate the conversation to ensure both digital and social channels are not viewed in isolation, rather as a compliment to a broader communication strategy tailored to help achieve goals.
To evaluate the role digital channels can play within your broader communication strategy you must have clarity around three specific areas:
What is the key objective for your brand or business this year?
Who are your customers, and what relationship do they have with your offering?
What is driving your sales today?
A little data, can go a long way.
A smart lady once told me, “the best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior’. By understanding the basics of how your customers interact with your brand today, you have the ability to influence future efforts. Consider the path to purchase, and all potential touch points where your consumers ‘could’ intercept a brand message. Whether you represent a CPG brand or offer a professional service, become your customer for a moment to think through the process of how they would find you, and when they do what messaging you can convey to increase their consideration. Many refer to this as DISCOVERY. Evaluate what channels are generating the most activity for your brand and build on them. Many times our clients are surprised to see first-hand where traffic is being generated and how targeted messaging can help improve performance.
Essentially anything can be found online. It’s often referenced there are only two types of internet users, time wasters and time savers. Your content may be interesting to you, but what about your target? Does it add value to their day, does it make daily tasks more enjoyable or will it help them save money for future purchases? It’s a two way street, if you can demonstrate a continued ability to be meaningful and provide useful content they in turn will increase their consideration for your brand. When you have a solid view of your customers and how they intercept your brand, its then about ENGAGEMENT and establishing a content strategy tailored to your customers and what matters most to them. Great content is the result of listening and observing you customers, the relationship with you they value most.
Ultimately brands needs sales to survive. When you know how your customers intercept your brand and the content or messaging they’re most interested in, it’s a matter of now using that knowledge to help achieve the business goal you’ve established for the brand. CONVERSION can happen in many different ways, for some it could mean direct sales online for others it could be delivering direct purchase incentive, opt-in to your CRM database, entry into a contest or something as simple as a visit to your website. Set goals, and monitor regularly. Over time, you’ll have the ability to evaluate which channels are driving the highest referrals in addition to what offers generate the highest conversion rate.
Digital channels are most effective when delivering against a defined business objective, and part of a broader integrated marketing plan. With this framework, you set the goals and build the consumer journey most likely to deliver your desired outcome, with real-time data guiding you at each step.