How your audience interacts with your current comms should dictate how you next interact with them.
“Timely”, “relevant”, and “continuous conversation” are just some of the buzzwords we bat around when describing the success or woes of campaigning. But they are common phrases for good reason: because for a campaign to rise over the noise of other emails, posts or adverts, the customer must receive the message when it’s most engaging to them.
Don’t send me a promotion on gardening when I live in a basement flat in the city; don’t send me information about over 50s life insurance when I am in my 20s living the student dream at university. Noise, noise, and more irrelevant noise – which causes me, as a recipient, to at best hit delete, or at worst unsubscribe.
To be effective, marketing needs to be targeted. But how do we know what is engaging, timely, and relevant?
Why have we communicated to this person in this way?
It all starts with understanding what communications we’ve sent our customers and why we decided it was in their interest to receive them. As an added benefit we can at least explain ourselves if the recipient feels they shouldn’t be receiving such communications.
Capturing communication history and using it to inform further engagement enables the next step of the process to continue, and so builds interest and engagement. For example, a customer receives our holiday newsletter with a call to action to upload their holiday pictures to our site, and shares photos of themselves sipping cocktails in paradise. We should at least acknowledge the effort the customer has gone to. And we can – by using the information we have about the customer to use personalisation and segmentation according to each customer’s transactional history.
The communication history enables an informed conversation, and builds a relationship rather than a series of one-off, static interactions that don’t correlate in any way.
All communications in one place
The power of having the customer’s communication history in one central place should not be underestimated. Communication history is captured through many channels, including:
- Direct Mail (DM)
This history allows you to understand which channels invoke a response – positive or negative – and how quickly that response was made. Did they click on the email and register their interest? Or did it take a follow-up DM to trigger them to call up and make an appointment? Only by having a central view of this communication history can you get these informed insights.
It also allows you to understand the volume of communications a recipient has received over the course of a month, week or even day. Reviewing the number of communications sent combined with the number of responses or engagements can inform the creation of your contact principles – such as deciding whether any of those communications can be sent at a more timely and relevant occasion.
This is all part of developing a sophisticated campaign process: campaigns evolve based on a recipient’s responses. This means that our conversation becomes driven by the recipient rather than the business, which means that the customer or prospect is having the kind of conversation they want with us.
A holistic view
Not only does this enable tailored, customer-driven conversations and interactions, but it also delivers tangible value for the business. Having a holistic view of communications across all channels enables accurate calculation of campaign ROI. Why cobble everything together when you could have a campaign tool that centralises it all for speedy reporting and campaign insight? Centralising the communication history enables tools to further enhance insights and marketing practices.
A centralised communication history allows you to do a multitude of marketing and campaign techniques. You can also use tools with analytical capabilities to predict the next best offer, discover which campaign the recipient should receive next, calculate the next best time to communicate, and the next best channel. These are simple concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) but powerful when making an informed choice about what would make a customer respond to your brand.
By understanding how a customer interacts – and more specifically what they interact with – you can get a sense of how your brand can complement their needs and add value to their lives. Balancing what’s in it for you as a brand and what’s in it for them as a customer is fundamentally how marketing can be successful. Communication history coupled with known transactional history can aid both parties when trying to reconcile this balancing act of expectation.