We are surrounded by the latest buzz words on a daily basis; I am sure there are many people familiar with the term, b***-s*** bingo? It’s a term often used in reference to those that like to use too many at once or just for the sake of it! A few examples: you may fall into the following categories of being a millennial, silver surfer, social Guru, or even a disruptive marketer that’s interested in social currency… I think you get what I mean. Whilst I drone on… drones are another new buzz word and dare I mention wearable tech? I’ll stop there.
The world marketers operate in seems to get bigger and change daily. It crosses over into science and finance, in fact many areas, it’s no longer about being statistical or creative it’s so much more. The more digital gadgets, software and exciting additions exist to make our lives easier the more buzz words come out!
The way these buzz words are used in and around marketing channels mean that even these areas get confused, or perhaps they are not seen as black and white as they once were… So I’ve set about trying to outline these in a more simplistic manner. I am aware however, that by the time this is published things will already have changed.
This is business deciding through what channels they want to communicate with their customers/consumers. This could be mobile, social media, an actual ‘live’ store, a catalogue or a call centre. The term is not consumer driven, so the channels aren’t necessarily aligned in terms of message and look/feel. This is not a new concept but in recent times more people seem to have confused it with other, similar terms. This term has not been superseded there are simply more channels in the mix now!
This is the use of multiple channels by a company in order to seamlessly interact with customers/consumers, en-route to purchase. Consumers use channels interchangeably. They may use the web or emails to research, print something off and then go into store. Reserve and collect in a store is a great example of this. Or search for an offer online to then use in a real life store or at an online store. They may also go via sites such as Quidco to make a purchase…Discounts and earn money! Everyone knows there are deals to be had if you search not only via stores, but via brands and then discounters! Come on, we’ve all done it!
Now this is newer, it’s the use of simultaneous devices or channels, this can be to help facilitate an actual purchase or indeed interact with a brand. A consumer may want to use their mobile whilst in store or be watching TV through an app on their tablet. Or be using the new wearable tech to monitor something like their health or interacting with others via various social media at the same time or through different devices. The interaction also allows for push and pull marketing (providing it’s consistent in tone, look, feel and experience), depending on what the consumer does, the device he or she uses and information they receive.
Examples of where wearable tech starts to cross over from marketing to indeed health for example; Google is currently looking at ways a person can monitor their blood sugar as a type 1 diabetic via a contact lens. This type of tech can them be monitored by a smartphone app, which in turn needs to be marketed and ensures the diabetic is in better control of their health and in turn eating an exercise.
The more channels and brand touch points that become available to a consumer, the more the market spreads and the more our lives and marketing crossover. It also means that the customer has a more personal experience as they will use the channels in the way that suits them! This brings a whole new experience for the use of brand touch points….but I think I’ll save that for another blog post.
Regarding an all-channel customer journey, some retailers think that offering the same products on and off line means meeting the consumer’s needs? Hmmm may be so, however it can make a retailer stale and less appealing! Having different product offerings and offers online than in a high-street store opens up reasons for a consumer to visit each channel and interact! Some marketers miss this and make their products all available on every channel. In doing so, they are cannibalising their own sales!
Having more channels does not always equate to more sales either, what it does do is make it easier for a purchaser to buy or convert. This could lead to increased loyalty and increased sales.
In short, there is room for all these channels and all these terms. Marketers just need to use them more effectively and when something new arrives or buyer behaviour shifts, look at the customer journey and how the new channel interacts with the established ones, because that changes too. For every cause there is an affect. If you are tracking all your brand and consumer interactions, channels and content, you have all the information you need to keep up with the new channels and buzz words of tomorrow.