Two’s Coincidence, Three’s a Pattern
Social Media opened up a new realm for many business through the redefinition of the word “Engagement”.
But if there’s a new paradigm that socially-connected businesses need to be fixated on it would be “Experience”.
Not so long ago, I was discussing business trends and exchanging success strategies with two colleagues.
Neither of my colleagues knew each other and the conversations I had had were quite independent of each other.
It turned out, we had bought a book called Experience the Message: How Experiential Marketing Is Changing the Brand World which discusses how companies are beginning to adopt Experiential Marketing in their PR and marketing strategies.
It was interesting that this should have come up, quite independently and at roughly the same time. Definitely a coincidence.
Earlier today, I checked out some news to notice that the 2013 Australian Motor Show was being cancelled because of a lack of support from the major automotive manufacturers.
It appears that car manufacturers are steering away from trade shows and expos and engaging their customers in experiential activities such as track-side driver experiences and event sponsorship.
The Evolution of Experiential Marketing
A 2009 survey by Jack Morton revealed that the majority of marketers believed “experiential marketing builds customer relationships for the long term”. They also agreed that it generates sales and leads in the short term, increases awareness of the product, drives word of mouth and can align internal audiences with business goals. Experiential marketing can be used successfully to:
- Build relationships
- Raise awareness
- Increase loyalty
- Establish relevance
- Encourage interaction and product trial
- Create memories
- Stimulate positive word of mouth
- Change the mind of dissatisfied customers
- Create product desire
- Verify the target audience
- Increase return on marketing investment
The Implications of Experiential Marketing on IT
If it’s possible to direct your marketing budget towards higher yielding strategies, why wouldn’t you?
If experiential marketing demonstrated a higher effectiveness, you absolutely would!
So, we’re set for organising our first event. Who do we invite?
Targeting your customers and contact to achieve the highest yield requires a substantial amount of structured data to be collected, analysed and processed.
Perhaps, in this context, we would need a way of classifying each of the different types of customers and leads. And we could add a scoring system that lets us easily identify prospective customers with the highest probability of a sale.
The New Breed of CRM Solutions
Better targeted customers and customer relationship management are terms that once again are being increasingly used in the industry. The online world is demanding new ways of understanding customer interactions.
The current generation of leading marketing and CRM tools are equipped with support for automation. This means they are using knowledge about customers to guide a more personalised engagement.
The customer classifications themselves require structure which means we can explicitly define each of them and the relationships that exist between them.
It would be possible to extend a standard single dimensional categorisation within many CRM systems to build up a rich understanding of each customer by maintaining relationships between customer attributes.
Gearing up for a Massive Change in Customer Analytics
It would be a relatively a straightforward task to create a simple ontology that defines a customer and a quick search on Google led me to some interesting research in the form of a document called Organisational Ontology Framework for Semantic Business Process Management.
In it, the authors define a process through which data collection and analysis can be automated and used to effectively evolve subsequent activities based on what a customer has previously experienced.
The resulting conclusion is that defining a customer classification characteristics as a set of entities and relationships (perhaps RDF triples?) could drive powerful customer segmentation possibilities indeed.
The pieces are emerging and the indication is clear…
The savvy business owner needs to incorporate customer data collection as part of their Digital Strategy.
Main image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/webtreatsetc/
Secondary image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hayley-vallejo/