Technology: Channels to Conversations

In today’s data-driven, tech-powered world, opening the door to customer communication is simultaneously easier and more challenging than ever. “Technology today is both friend and foe for the CMO. The shift from art to science requires CMOs to reinvent themselves and their organizations or become irrelevant. The CMO of tomorrow is the data nerd of today,” says Ashu Garg of Foundation Capital. As we move away from traditional channels like cold calling and mass email blasts, the challenge for CMOs lies in adapting to new channels like social media and word of mouth.

Taking an omni-channel approach to the latest communication pathways is the new way to not only reach your most engaged customers, but also to achieve ROI and set the groundwork for growth.

Moving to Social & Word of Mouth

Right now, the industry is moving away from media channels showing diminishing returns and moving toward social channels that allow brands to drive engagement and track ROI. Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is an important part of effective engagement and one-on-one customer communication.

While social media plays host to plenty of word of mouth recommendations, the fact is this form of communication also takes place offline. A recent study by Yodle reported that even if consumers learn about a business offline, 27 percent visit that business’s website to learn more. Additionally, this also means 27 percent of consumers believe that websites validate word of mouth recommendations and that website visits are influenced by offline recommendations. As social media becomes more entwined in our daily lives, it’s easy to see the importance of taking a cross-channel approach to both word of mouth marketing and characteristic marketing.

How Different Channels Influence Success

In every industry, the customer-driven change is about rethinking how the industry handles their customers and their overall customer journey. Technology, especially social media, has provided customers with more control than ever. Communication is no longer a one-way street; people are now having real, one-on-one conversations with brands and expressing what they want — not what a brand thinks they want. In this current landscape, businesses must learn to converse with consumers on a personal level in order to ultimately build and foster lasting relationships that benefit both parties.

The emergence of technologies and accessibility of characteristic data is forcing businesses to change and improve the customer service experience across every available channel. According to Forrester, “Empowered consumers now control their options via multiple channels and devices.” They now expect a seamless, omni-channel experience across all platforms, including digital customer service and “self-service channels such as web and mobile.”

The Omni-Channel Approach

With this shift, activation across specific media channels – such as TV, print, OOH and digital advertising – and event affiliation – such as the Super Bowl and shows like American Idol – will only continue to show diminishing returns. Now, the shift is less about being in every channel and more about being in the right channels, where your target audience is located, and seeing those blend into an omni-channel approach.

For the CMO, technology and data present a powerful opportunity for opening the channels of customer communication and bridging those channels with a seamless, omni-channel approach. While reinventing a business is no simple task, doing so can ensure your success for the future.

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