Attracting, engaging, and retaining customers is never easy. Brands must manage customer relationships with relevant, timely data. They have to keep customers hooked and invested with the right content delivered at the right time and through the right channel. And, to be consistently effective, companies in the brand-to-local ecosystem must ensure every partner in the distribution stream is on the same page.
As marketing becomes more technology driven, and as more innovative tools and solutions are available, old ways of approaching customer relationship management (CRM), loyalty campaigns, and local marketing are proving to be less effective. The brands that don’t modernize their marketing efforts are losing valuable market share.
You don’t have to obliterate your existing strategy to modernize, but you do have to understand where marketing is — and where it’s headed. Here are six ways engagement marketing has evolved.
Old School: Working alongside an engagement marketing partner that promotes a black-box, one-size-fits-all solution. This approach was thought to be the most efficient and cost-effective.
New Approach: Today, successful brands see the benefit of a combination of managed services and technology where the data and insights are customer-owned and partner-managed. Ansira believes this modern approach fosters a strategic partnership and neutral integration that’s best for the unique needs of every client.
Old School: The brand’s marketing strategy is a disjointed channel marketing mix stacked with traditional media. With this approach, the goal is to create a customer experience.
New Approach: The brand’s marketing strategy is shaped by intelligence gained from collecting, refining, and leveraging data. The strategy is a mix of traditional and digital media to drive engagement across various audiences. Content is thoughtful, relevant, and current. It’s activated in the market via automated tools that ensure continuous optimization. Today, the goal is to create a seamless customer experience.
Old School: Brands used to think that direct sales revenue was the crown jewel of business performance and growth, while indirect sales took a backseat.
New Approach: Brands want to mine the value and revenue growth potential of indirect sales. By prioritizing customer loyalty solutions and local marketing campaigns, national brands can drive profitable growth faster. The key is treating channel partners like the direct sales teams.
Old School: Co-op funds and market development funds (MDF) are offered, just as they always have been. Only some partners use them, and often times, the brand doesn’t actively manage the activity to ensure the maximum return from the investment.
New Approach: The focus is on coordinated and utilized programs designed to have a tremendous impact on business performance and growth. The key to profit has long been for national brands to set an overall marketing strategy at the highest level, and then ensure that local partners have the right tools and governance to take the message to their specific masses.
By engaging channel partners with strategically designed programs and marketing technology enabled by the brand, companies can optimize their brand-to-local marketing strategy.
Old School: Channel partners such as franchisees, distributors, or resellers promote the brand at the local level, but they don’t have a seat at the national table.
New Approach: Brands understand the importance of providing local marketing solutions through a dedicated effort that aligns the national strategy but has local relevance. As such, many brands are appointing a “channel chief” to ensure there is a local partner representative who can communicate needs and results.
Old School: Loyalty programs are enthusiastically approached by the brand. These programs start off strong in the sign-up phase, but lose speed over the longer term. While the brand spent time and dollars to launch the program, the strategy didn’t include lifecycle key performance indicators or long-term tactics to drive engagement.
New Approach: CRM and loyalty programs are prioritized beyond the initial launch promotion. Brands understand that offering a seamless customer experience time and time again is what builds brand equity and keeps customers coming back. Brands look at benchmarks as progress reports, striving to improve customer retention and sales.
The modern approach to captivating customers leverages a data-driven strategy, innovation, and expertise focused on helping the brand prioritize local engagement — and long-term business results.