The world of marketing has been described in many ways – kinetic, engaging, analytical, and innovative are some of the terms that immediately spring to mind. But I’ve always found ‘unforgiving’ to be the most apt description. Businesses today exist in a hypercompetitive environment, under constant threat from established rivals and newly arisen challengers to the crown.
A company that hopes to survive in this environment needs to be at the top of its marketing game, utilizing every advantage and exploring every avenue. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, and marketing departments are often slow to adopt the latest trends sweeping the industry. With all that said, here are three crucial aspects of marketing CMOs can’t afford to miss out on:
Influencer marketing has been around for a long time, in the form of brand endorsements by actors, athletes, and other personalities in the public eye. But it was the dawn of the social media era, and the launch of Instagram in particular, that propelled this phenomenon to new heights and led to the introduction of an entirely new type of celebrity – the social media influencer. With followers in the millions and the ability to change a brand’s fortunes with a single post, it’s only natural for companies to have sought them out for collaborations and partnerships. Over time, the true effectiveness of these collaborations has come into question. Issues such as the increasing commercialization of the space, the lack of oversight over posted content, and the difficulty in measuring results have all raised doubts over the long-term viability of this avenue.
The advent of crowd marketing offers a solution to these issues. The fundamental idea of this approach is to convert regular customers into vocal brand ambassadors across their personal social media channels, regardless of follower numbers. This approach results in the democratization of influencer marketing and has flipped traditional dynamics on its head. After all, does it really make sense to focus our marketing budget on a tiny group of influencers, and ignore the remaining 99 percent of social media users who faithfully evangelize our brands across social media platforms?
For example, a campaign involving a traditional influencer with 10,000 followers results in a Total Addressable Market (TAM) of less than one percent, with a total audience engagement of two to four percent. On the other hand, a crowd marketing campaign that taps customers with 200 followers captures a TAM of 99 percent, with engagement figures between 15 and 35 percent. The problems inherent with this approach become even more apparent by the fact that 92 percent of online shoppers’ trust content from friends and family above all other forms of brand messaging. Deployed across a multitude of such consumers, the benefits of this approach become immediately apparent. The fact that influencers with over 10,000 followers only constitute one percent of the total number of social media users only serves to reinforce this point.
By deploying a marketing budget in this avenue and engaging with micro-influencers, brands have an opportunity to ‘cross the chasm’. This affords them the chance to reach the early majority market segment and instills a genuine sense of brand loyalty amongst a large swathe of customers, while avoiding the pitfalls of a paid relationship with a limited selection of influencers.
Good content makes the world go round. That adage is especially true in the world of social media marketing, where it allows a brand to drive traffic, build customer loyalty, and establish a unique voice and message. But generating good content isn’t as easy as it sounds, and brands frequently struggle to produce content that is unique, engaging, and tonally consistent. And short of achieving marketing’s Holy Grail – a viral post – the majority of a brand’s social media followers are unlikely to see the average post.
In order to counter this, many brands have embraced the opportunities offered by user-generated content (UGC). UGC consists of any content featuring a brand created by the public, and can range from photos and videos to reviews, blog posts, and even memes. This scenario allows companies to move from the role of content creator to content curator, directly engage with consumers, and no longer be limited by the marketing department’s creativity – at no cost to themselves. Today’s audience craves stories and harnessing the power of UGC supplies brands with a vast pool of authentic, credible options. UGC also allows brands to stand out from the crowd. While every other company produces a consistent stream of picture-perfect social media content, UGC bolsters a brand’s credibility by featuring a more realistic depiction of products and services in an everyday context.
The best part is that UGC is the type of content most trusted by the public. The statistics back this up: 53 percent of millennials say UGC has influenced their purchasing decisions, while half of all consumers believe UGC is more memorable than any other form of brand-related messages.
Reward and retain
Although a marketer’s primary purpose is to attract new customers to a brand, an often-overlooked aspect of the role is retaining this hard-won clientele. After all, it’s far easier to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. According to a study conducted by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention by five percent can increase profits by between 25 and 95 percent. Similarly, the success rate of selling to a preexisting customer is between 60 and 70 percent, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is falls steeply to between 5 and 20 percent. This mantra is at the crux of loyalty marketing, which is all about rewarding customer loyalty and ultimately establishing a community.
The simplest way to go about this is through the implementation of a rewards program. This acknowledges the importance of a customer to a brand while encouraging them to continue engaging. The best way to do this is by moving beyond simple discounts or cash rewards, and instead offering custom, curated experiences that are unattainable through any other means. Once a relationship has developed, loyal customers are more likely to stay with your brand and be more receptive to any marketing communication given to them. Over time, they turn into brand evangelists amongst their friends and family, leading to the formation of a community and the development of a lasting, mutually beneficial relationship.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.