The emergence of customer-centric and multi-channel approaches to connect with consumers presents a unique opportunity for marketers to “react opportunistically to emerging possibilities”, meaning digital strategy and tactical execution are no longer mutually exclusive. Long planning cycles, fraught with battles over budgets and competing priorities across departments within an organization can whittle down the window of opportunity to meet company goals.
Using The 4 C’s to Respond to Consumer Needs
The 4Cs (Customer/consumer value, Cost, Convenience, and Communication) set the stage for building customer-first tactics and they can also provide a framework for developing strategies that are responsive to changes in the market, competition and consumer behaviors. According to Harvard Business Review, it’s easy to get hung up on how strategy gets made versus how it’s supposed to get made. Strategy is meant to be a plan for what we intend to do in the future that draws from past actions. But sometimes we place too much focus on what’s already happened and lose sight of opportunities in the present.
As digital marketers, we understand all too well how quickly things can change (client changes their mind on a tactic, budget increases or decreases, delays in campaign launch, competition increases, etc.). Instead of scrapping the original strategy because it didn’t go the way you thought it would, ask yourself how can I adapt my original plan to be more flexible so it can weather future changes? Drawing from the 4Cs to educate consumers, to sell a product or service or to let them know your brand or product exists all comes down to reaching the right customer, at the right time and in the right place. These are the building blocks of a solid strategy. But how do you carry out a planned strategy all the way to execution and still be adaptable to change? Explore and embrace opportunities that at first may seem to put a monkey wrench in things but may open doors you didn’t realize were there.
The introduction of cord cutters and how people consume media has drastically changed over the past couple of years. Only 3 out of an ever-growing list TV/video streaming companies have become household names, nabbing a lion’s share of viewers’ pocketbook commitment with a monthly subscription. As more streaming options become available, it’s only natural to think the top 3 services would want to duke it out to get more market share and keep the little guys at bay. But since streaming is starting to become more the norm rather than the alternative, advertisers are going to have to pay a premium to compete in a highly saturated market place. Going after cord cutters is becoming more and more expensive, and many of them already subscribe to a streaming service, so how do these streaming companies acquire new subscribers? Step back for a moment – there’s a large segment of consumers who haven’t made the switch and still rely solely on cable TV. Why not switch gears and focus on pre-cord cutters? Now an obstacle has turned into an opportunity.
Reaching Users Where They Are
To successfully reach users, marketers also need to look beyond traditional media channels. Video and social media consumption transcends generational gaps and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Digital strategies and tactical executions need to adapt and change based on how users consume content. Offline media is very much alive and kicking, so if the opportunity presents itself, find ways to bridge the gap between offline and online. We’ve all heard this is the year of mobile for years but this time it’s really true. Reaching users goes beyond targeting a specific channel, keyword or website. The vehicle they use is just as important as the content they consume.
Use Data to Better Understand Consumers Across Channels
Successful digital marketing campaigns don’t operate in a silo, they branch out across channels and devices and are targeted to reach specific audiences based on intent, affiliation, or interest group. Data analysis is a valuable tool and resource that extends beyond optimizations, it can also be used to anticipate or predict future trends, market opportunities or changes in the competitive landscape. Insights and analysis from one channel can be used to inform other channels, which creates opportunities to extend campaign reach and improve performance. These insights can fuel digital strategies, allowing marketers to change course as needed and implement tactics that align with these shifts.
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