While the digital age has changed the rules of marketing, a panel of experts at the recent Wharton Marketing Conference suggests that the most effective outreach, even for international brands, centers on personal connections rather than random tweets or texts. Too many companies are just looking to expand the numbers they are reaching. That approach does not amount to much. In the last five years, the volume of advertising has doubled, but just saying, ‘How many hashtags do I have?’ is not the purpose of digital marketing. That is just taking the new technology and treating it like what they knew. Just as companies have more data, consumers also have more access to information. In the deluge of digital marketing, good and bad, they are exposed more often to advertising pitches. Even if they want to whittle it down to the more personal pitches, the haze of information can blot out any individual message.
It is rather ironic. We have more data than ever before, but the overwhelming evidence is that customer loyalty is lower.
Too many marketers just want to use the latest thing, figuring that will give them buzz. “They have to start studying those avenues better, and not just head there because it is new. But as a marketer you have to be a culturally curious person. It is not enough to just read about platforms. If you have not used Twitter, then go on it. If you want to be a good marketer, you have to understand it. You hear about Snapchat. Don’t just say you are going to use it. Try it a couple of times. Learn about the best ways to go about it. Don’t just throw things out there.
One phrase consumers have heard enough of is “shareholder value.” They want “customer value” instead.
When we look only at shareholder value, the customer says, ‘You only care about you. You do not care about me,’. If you keep the customer as the center of the discussion, not just the shareholder, you will not have to worry about loyalty, which is the real value.
We have to understand our consumers, just as before — what motivates them to choose our brands, and what motivates them when they go into the store to buy them. It was relevant 100 years ago, and it is relevant today. The volume of opinions may have changed, but to be a good marketer, you need to know how to motivate the customer correctly.
While many companies are using social media to market to customers, they are using it all wrong. Just because you send me something about, for example, where I went on vacation, that is not personal. It is just plain creepy. It is like my neighbor going through my trash to find something out about me. Just because my neighbor goes through my trash doesn’t mean we have a relationship. You want to build trust, [but] that is hardly trusting.