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Staying relevant and connected with today's digitally enabled consumer

Brands that want to successfully keep up with today's digitally enabled consumer must consider investing in an always-on multi-channel strategy, which ensures that they are able to exchange information and services 24 hours a day.
Today's highly connected customer uses multiple devices across multiple channels in any given day and is demanding access to brands and services whenever they choose, and on the channel of their choice.

This is creating a range of challenges for traditional marketers and agencies, who need to be able to deliver relevant messaging to a consumer, at the right time and on the right device, as well as for any brand who needs to truly feel that they have a consistent connection with their target audience.

The traditional campaign approach creates a fragmented on-and-off customer engagement, which is not a successful strategy to connect with in this growing digitally enabled consumer base.

This reality demands a shift in thinking for many marketers, who are still using traditional advertising to drive their core strategies - as a paid-for marketing tool this is no longer the only way of driving sales and engagement. Rather, the combined use of 'owned', 'paid' and 'earned' media, has become the norm for today's successful multi-channel strategies.

Put simply, when you stop buying media (via paid channels), you want to know that your consumer can still connect and engage with your brand (via owned channels), and that your strategy is actively generating organic talkability and additional reach (via earned channels and conversation). This means that beyond a particular campaign, or the closing of a bricks and mortar high street store, you are still building the brand and your customer relationships.

Of course, it would be prohibitively expensive for most businesses to have round-the-clock call centre agents and stores that are open 24 hours a day, so digital channels can provide this connection.

Additionally, once you have migrated customers to your owned media channels (such as an email database), the ability to continue that relationship is highly cost-effective, as you do not need to use paid media to speak to those people anymore.

Finally, by collecting data about your customer throughout your channel strategy, you are able to deliver personalised engagement with them, helping you to stay relevant to them and to cement the relationship even further.

Smart use of data across multiple channels is critical to keeping ahead of consumer expectations. As part of a long-term digital strategy, savvy marketers should be harvesting data in real-time to drive personalised digital advertising, search, mobile and website interactions with customers. And eventually, enabling them to use a blend of location-based technologies, behavioural data, demographic information, and more to create customer journeys that are both relevant and rewarding to their customers.

This level of personalisation, convenience, interactivity, and immediacy isn't just for wealthier customers with PCs and smartphones - nearly every person with a cellphone is a potential digital consumer. By example, even the cheapest cellphone can be used to exchange highly effective SMS, USSD and interactive voice messaging.

Let's also not forget that the uptake of smart devices has been so positive, together with costs being reduced so dramatically (they now retail for as little as R500), that brands are already able to consider a wide range of digital channels as a serious enabler of reach for their communications.

In summary, a successful connection to today's consumer may demand a relook for many brands at their long-term multi-channel strategy, if they want to take the growing digitally enabled consumer relationship seriously. And, at the heart of this process, is understanding how the consumer's lifestyle is driving his or her demand for interactivity, commerce, and personalisation 24 hours a day.


About Pete Case

Pete Case is the Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather South Africa.

Gloo's press office

Gloo is a team of multi skilled and talented designers focused on creating clear communication across the growing digital media space. Based on Award winning creative work and Design solutions that add real value to our client's businesses. Let Gloo help you stand out from the crowd.
Read more: Gloo, Pete Case