The importance that marketers put on acquiring new customers has taken a back seat to the priority of maintaining current relationships with current customers. The consensus is that the lifetime value of a customer is more valuable and profitable than a one-and-done transaction. This should fuel a brand’s motivation to keep the conversation fresh and ongoing.
The Six C’s of Marketing
The old school approach to marketing failed to appreciate the value and individuality of consumers in their quest for “quantity over quality” contacts. Modern marketing has seen the limitations of the traditional Four P’s marketing mix and has devised a new consumer-centric approach with a new mix: Contact, Consistency, Creativity, Culture, Communication and Change. Filling the sales funnel with new customers will always be a priority, but now we can focus on retaining quality relationships over the course of the consumer journey as well. Although there is some debate on what exact labels comprise the new Six C’s, the six-step approach we are discussing here is the most generally accepted version.
The first question is to ask is “who are we engaging with?” By starting here, you look at what consumers need, want, and how they behave. In starting with the customer you define your brand based on the people you want to contact rather than the other way around.
Whereas it has always been important, there is also a special emphasis to coordinate brand and marketing strategies to be consistent. The days of putting all your eggs in one basket with a one-off TV spot are now being replaced with integrated brand promotion across multiple platforms. Conveying your brand across multiple channels in a seamless manner is the key. Marketing and branding is all about storytelling. Attention to detail and thorough implementation is crucial.
We probably don’t need to say it, but your marketing strategies need to be creative. Although, this principle is especially relevant today with the constantly evolving media landscape and the abundant clutter and noise from competitors.
Different markets are not the same as different cultures. Culture is defined as the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. Don’t risk not knowing the cultural aspects of those you are speaking to. After all, human insights are at the core of what we deal with as marketing and advertising professionals. The key thing to remember when determining the tone, copy, placement, etc, of your brand is that insights into the way you think, feel, and behave are not always in sync with that of the culture your brand is going to be introduced to. Marketing teams need to research and understand the different cultures. Don’t risk a cultural blunder. For example: Heineken infuriated the Muslim community by printing the Saudi Arabian flag, which had a holy verse on it, on its beer bottles during the 1994 World Cup. The implication that their religious flag was associated with alcohol consumption angered Muslims across the world.
Building brands in modern marketing requires strategies that are less interruptive and more communicative. People are less likely to respond to interruption marketing or ignore it altogether with ad blocking software on their devices. Consumers are less willing to be interrupted and want to be talked with, not at. In fact, social media marketing will have a projected spend of $35.98 billion in 2017.
Social media enables the marketer to get a 360-degree view of lifestyles and behaviors of a consumer. This allows the marketer to convey a more organic and appealing message that they are more likely to engage with. Native advertising in the forms of promoted Tweets, Facebook posts, product placement, etc, are not only less interruptive but 49% of consumers do not even recognize the content as advertisements.
Your strategies need to not only be creative, but also need to be fluid and able to change. Just as the lifestyles and behaviors of people are always evolving, your marketing efforts need to evolve if you are going to maintain contact for the long haul.
Marketing is entering a new era. Brands are attempting to find the best balance between the old and new schools of thought. For example, instead of just a TV spot, some brands will play on this consumer-centric principle by asking the viewer to follower them on a social media site for regular updates on promotions or company news. Or maybe a mobile app that implements a reward system for every purchase, which simultaneously collects the user’s information and also allows them to opt in to a company newsletter or email marketing. The idea is coordination of all elements of your brand across multiple channels.
The lines between public relations, advertising, and marketing efforts are becoming blurred and it may not always be so obvious which practice is at play. In order to carry out a brand’s strategy successfully, you have to rely on the best combination of your paid, owned, and earned efforts.