The way we communicate with people has changed. We now have access to a whole range of communication tools to choose from for a traditional task like organising a birthday night out. We can phone, text, email, Skype, MSN, announce it on FaceBook, the list goes on. Even after the event we can report on the evening’s activities by uploading clips from our mobile phones to YouTube or posting photos or comments on our Facebook wall.
With such a choice of new communication tools available, there is no wonder that the way businesses are now choosing to communicate with their audience has changed too. Many businesses now understand that people trust people and will trust the opinion of complete strangers on a blog site reporting back about the usability or quality of a new mobile phone or TV. You only have to look at Amazon to see that they are using other people’s buying behaviour to influence the current customer in such cases as ‘people who bought this item also bought…’
Consumers have much more power, they even demand it
The increase in communication channels that are now available to us has increased the level of involvement and communication with other people and businesses. Ebay were one of the first to recognise this and harness the opportunity that it presented when it allowed customers feedback to have a direct impact on the business or person selling their goods on Ebay. This has led the change towards consumers trusting other consumers, based on previous experiences with that business.
The way businesses need to communicate to spread the word about their products or services has also changed. Quirky is now king in the digital world and plays an important role in building or tweaking brand image. Those businesses that harness the capabilities of digital communication channels will succeed, like the drum playing Cadbury Gorilla which has been bastardised into a whole range of other theme tunes by copycats. Or the 1 min 22 sec Quiksilver Dynamite YouTube clip that is extending the reach of the Quiksilver brand beyond the seaside. The ones that shock and surprise gain the attention in the digital world, as in the real world
How to Make More Money…
If you are interested in making more money, the simplest way to do this is to communicate the benefits of what you are selling to the people who are most likely to buy it and influence other people to buy it too. The growth of relationship marketing through digital tools has become cheap and easy to execute. In the past, to test a new campaign would be timely and costly. New digital opportunities allow businesses (on a small or large scale) to carry out some small distinct tests which gain results that are fairly accurate and simple to measure. Three vital pieces of information are required to understand consumer behaviour in the digital world and these are:
- Who is this person?
- Where did they come from?
- What did they do whilst with you?
In understanding their behaviour; you will be able to attract more consumers like them.
Which tools to use?
What we have come to realise is that the same rules apply to attracting customers as they always have done;
- Understand your audience and segment customer groups
- Content must be relevant (on or offline but especially online to maximise your ranking / quality score on Google!)
- Focus on engaging with the customer (which will happen if your message is relevant)
- Influence the influencers (they will go tell other people)
- Measure the success of your campaign and tweak as necessary (it may be that your message isn’t quite right or you are seeking customers in the wrong place)
- Test new ideas, learn from them, evolve your campaign and become more successful
To a certain extent, the web and digital tools are about ROI in a different sense – Return on Involvement. If you achieve regular involvement, you will eventually achieve traditional ROI – Return on Investment. It cannot be ignored that relationship marketing is absolutely essential and with additional tools available to analyse click behaviour, search terms, blog entries and other influencer networks it is now much easier to engage with your target audience and achieve results.