Weeding through the Monday morning onslaught of promotional emails, it’s clear marketers are still relying heavily on this channel to push offers. And to some degree, it’s what we expect. When asked for our personal information in store, we’re often (hopefully always) reminded that it’ll be used to send us special discounts and exclusive promotions. If we liked our in-store experience, we’ll give up the goods. Because we can always opt out later, right?
But what about when we’re asked for our phone number? It feels a little different because, while I’m comfortable receiving emails every week, I’ll be annoyed if you text me every week – and even more so if you do both.
This boils down to the fact that customers have different expectations by channel. And in the case of older touchpoints like email and SMS, the lines are clearer. But it’s also important to note how some channels are blending. For example, I was with friends last weekend and one, after doing something on her phone, got up and said, “I have to get my iPad for this.” It got me thinking about how often – even in the same transaction – I’ll switch devices. The answer is very often.
Some browsing and reviewing on my phone works just fine, but if I’m trying to find something unique or dig into the specs, then I’d rather have the full desktop size, access to multiple tabs so I can compare, etc. It’s influenced in part by real estate (how much I can really look at, at the same time), speed and ease of use. And starting my journey on one device and hopping to another means I’ll take notice if the transition is bumpy.
This is where channel owners and marketing need to be working together. The channel owner is responsible for understanding how consumers use it, and what the brand is doing in that channel to provide a solid customer experience.
Then marketing is the thread that pulls these channels together. Does the customer check email on their phone, click through to a mobile site, browse and then jump on their desktop to compare products and make a purchase? Is there an offer on the mobile site that’s not available in store? Does the customer know that?
And what about timing? As we increasingly become a “here and now” culture, brands are under pressure to not only understand their customers, but to understand them right now. There’s a cadence to each channel that must be integrated, again with an eye for the customer’s preferences.
When the marketer deeply understands the user’s brand experience, they are able to tailor channels to their particular and most valuable use. Marketers need to understand the value of each channel as a unique experience, and how it blends into the full breadth of the transaction. This successful interplay not only improves the customer’s experience, it can significantly increase sales and conversions.