Have you ever stopped to think about the number of touch points customers receive from your company?
Search engine ads, magazine advertisements, catalogs, and emails are seen by your customer more than your realize. Customers could be receiving dozens of communications from your company this week alone. When was the last time you did a spot check to see if the messaging between the channels is presenting a consistent image to your customer? If we stick to the three core channels – direct mail, digital media (email & web), and advertising – you will be amazed to see the variety of messaging your customers see about your company.
It’s quite easy for this discrepancy to happen. Each channel prepares their own campaigns and incorporates their own special treatment on the corporate messaging. In the eyes of the marketers, these treatments (a.k.a. changes) to the standardize messaging are meant to add a bit of pizzazz. Unfortunately, if you have 3 different marketing divisions within your company, and each division has 4 team members, your customers could be seeing 12 different versions of the standardized corporate message…so much for the consistency you were trying to achieve with a standardized message. As marketing channels continue to evolve and with new channels coming onto the scene every year, it’s important that all marketing channels start unifying their ideas.
Symbiotic marketing is all about different marketing divisions, including customer service, uniting to present one consistent image to a customer. An organization can start practicing symbiotic marketing by following these guidelines:
· Establish Tone. Will your corporate speak be formal and detailed or short and witty? There is no right or wrong answer, as long as all communication to customers follows the same tone.
o Quick Tip – Appoint 1 person to review all customer messaging. It’s much easier to establish a consistent tone when one person has the final say.
· Launch a pricing strategy. All channels should be offering products or services at the same base-level pricing. Establish rules for sales and special offers and a timeline to ensure customers do not receive competing offers from your company.
· Define Gimmees. Gimmees are the typically the non-documented offers companies are willing to give customers to keep them happy (i.e. 100% satisfaction guaranteed). There is no reason to keep these offers a secret. It’s just important that all marketing divisions know what they can, and can’t, give up in the name of keeping customers happy.
· Appoint an IMO. An Integrated Marketing Officer is the person who keeps track of what messaging the customer is seeing. This is not the gatekeeper of all outgoing marketing pieces; instead she should be viewed as your inside-customer because she is privy to the same messaging as the customer — from all channels. The IMO can guide the different channels along to ensure all customer touch points follow the same messaging strategy.
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