In this series, the Chairman of idio, David Barrow outlines his vision of conversational marketing; where a customer-centric approach pays dividends for customers and businesses alike. David Barrow was the Founder and CEO of KiQ, which transformed the CRM landscape in the UK, and was acquired by Chordiant in 2004. Click here for the first post in this series.
Conversing with people to help them understand what they want and to facilitate achieving it may seem a no brainer to some industries. Businesses that have traditionally used all available channels to talk to their customers would find the extension into the earlier stages to facilitate journeys an obvious step, simply linking many of their normal activities – brand advertising, outbound letters and email and inbound call centres, web sites and branches.
Too often however, brand oriented activities are organisationally separate from CRM and Customer Service operations – Conversational Marketing aims brings them together. Conversational Marketing addresses all stages of the journey and attempts to interact at every appropriate point of participation in order to influence and facilitate. Conversational Marketing also includes those early stages of the journey when social interactions tend to define problems and aspirations. Above all, it’s an integrated and co-ordinated approach across all stages of the journey using all channels of communication.
Who won’t benefit?
If a decision to purchase your product/service necessitates merely a trivial consideration with little sense of loyalty then there is little necessity or indeed opportunity for conversation – point of sale visibility and availability are all for commodity products and services.
If you have a direct relationship with many of your customers, a high frequency of interacting with them, and the journey that your product/service supports involves significant complexity and consideration, will have both strong brand marketing and active CRM and customer service operations, though, sadly rarely unified. Implementing Conversational Marketing will add the influence of social interactions to link the two, to stimulate and facilitate demand and customer experience.
Industries with an indirect relationship with their customers and seemingly a simple product/service, such as well known drink brands, have well developed brand marketing to create and maintain awareness, but can do little to stimulate and facilitate demand. They can however, associate themselves with a more complex journey, such as following a sport, and create the perceived authority to advise on the complex issues which complement the need for their product.
Conversational Marketing picks-up on those early stage interactions that if encouraged and directed, coalesce into activities that implicitly involve consumption. Put simply, if I can interest you in a sport, I can encourage you to go to the pub to watch it, and you’re likely to consume my beverage. Conversational Marketing finds the things that encourage you to go to the pub, detects opportunities to stimulate that activity and primes you to remember the brand when you get there.
Look out for the next post in this series, which will discuss authority and the opportunities for First Mover Advantage.