E is for Echo: 10 tips to take the guesswork out of customer-centric marketing

Posted by Scott Mikus

Today’s inbound marketing can deliver measurable, reliable information about the success of your initiatives.

Call it the echo effect. What you send out can come back as real-time statistical data you can use to improve your marketing results. Think of it as customer-centric marketing – understanding buyers’ online and offline behavior, building that insight into your marketing campaigns, and connecting it to the bottom line.

From social media to email campaigns to Google Adwords, today’s marketing tools are interactive and immediate, so you can capture valuable information whenever users browse, click, respond and convert.

With the right tools, the right strategies and the right content targeting your prospects, you can create an echo effect with your inbound and outbound communications.

Here are 10 tips to take the guesswork out of customer feedback:

1) Present an unified brand across multiple touchpoints – whether it’s on the web, social media, mobile, events or collateral. According to a recent Forbes survey of CMOs, one of Marketing’s biggest challenges is ensuring a consistent customer (and prospect) experience. While customer acquisition, conversion and retention continue to be top business priorities, investing in consistent branding is critical to the success of all your marketing initiatives.

2) Understand your target audience. Besides analyzing web, email and social media analytics to better understand buyer behavior, don’t forget offline research methods like buyer personas, trade shows, customer advisory panels, win-loss analysis, and customer case study interviews. Skip this step, and you’ll most certainly fall short of your campaign goals.

3) Put content at the heart of your B2B or B2C marketing campaigns. That starts with delivering a compelling message that will motivate your target audience. But how do you make it persuasive?  Crafting well-written content isn’t enough, though it’s important.  Your messaging must hit prospects’ pain points and priorities – and it must motivate your audience to take the next step in the buying process.

4) Define your visual voice. Support your message with designs that command attention, reinforce key points and enhance your brand identity. If you look and sound like everybody else, guess what? Your prospect won’t be able to differentiate you from the competition.

5) Customize your outbound communications. Deliver personalized messages to each customer or prospect – or targeted messages to segments of your audience. Customers and prospects will benefit from this narrowcasting because they will receive messages and offers that are more relevant to their interests, while you will get better results from your marketing campaigns.

6) Go for quality, not quantity. As marketing strategist Ardath Albee points out, if your lead-generation campaign produces 150 leads, but only 20 are high-quality leads, is it really better than another campaign that produces 20 high-quality leads? Are more clicks and more leads really the end goal if you’re spending all your time trying to sift the wheat from the chaff – or trying in vain to get sales to follow up on all those leads?

7) Repurpose content and deliver it multiple formats. Prepare electronic and print versions of your outbound communications to maximize your reach without adding substantial production costs. Deliver your message in the formats your audiences prefer.

8) PURL makes perfect. Email, web and social media can deliver the echo effect. For example, add a PURL to your direct mail or email campaign to track and measure audience responses in real time – while you generate leads and collect valuable information about your prospects.

9) Measure, tweak, measure, tweak. Use all that statistical data you’ve gathered to measure your performance, adjust your communication strategies based on what you learn and justify investments in marketing initiatives.

10) What goes out can come back. With the right combination of inbound marketing and outbound marketing initiatives, you’ll command attention and communicate with more impact. You’ll also capture valuable feedback, convert more prospects, build better customer relationships and demonstrate a positive return on your marketing investment.

I welcome your ideas and tips in the comments section below, or shoot me an email at scottmikus@crawfordmikus.com.

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design.

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off on E is for Echo: 10 tips to take the guesswork out of customer-centric marketing