“Marketing communications” was much easier in the 1990s because the only choices to launch a sales and marketing strategy were television, radio, out-of-door, and print in its many forms. A few alternatives, which fell under the heading of “other,” were not recognized yet as conventional marketing communication, but rather as beta technology for the digital revolution. Making the right media decisions required lots of market research and often employed focus groups (if you could afford them) to determine which media to utilize, to what extent, and which messages would resonate with target markets. Measurement and return-on-investment (ROI) provided the ground rules, and green flags, for future endeavors.
Fast forward and the vast options in media channels today. Which marketing tools and what messaging will help your company achieve the ultimate goal of winning the battle for top-of-mind recognition and brand loyalty among your target market?
Confusing and challenging, isn’t it? There is an elegant and efficacious solution: ASK the target market how they would solve the conundrum. According to a Peppers and Rogers white paper, Relationship Marketing 3.0, their 2009 survey indicated that tapping into and implementing the voice-of-the-customer is the most profound process to achieve both relevancy and timing—two of the most imperative and vital attributes to any current campaign. Using online surveys to engage customers when forging a new marketing campaign can guarantee the success of most branding, prospecting and loyalty efforts. Social networking, online advertising and targeted direct mail and email can easily get the survey into the hands of the right people.
Ask your audience:
- How do you like to be communicated to?
- Which media outlets do you prefer to be contacted through?
- How can companies cut through the clutter?
- What would capture your attention?
- How often would you like to be contacted?
- Which media are you most likely to use to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues?
Your customers will let you know exactly what they want from your company; whether your sales and marketing efforts are penetrating and successful, how they feel about your latest product or service, and if it does indeed fulfill a need or satisfy a want they have. After all, isn’t it the prospective customer we are trying to engage and convert into an actual customer?
By fulfilling the sales and marketing promise, we can establish, maintain and grow a loyal customer base that helps us in the quest towards brand loyalty and growth in sales. Integrating the voice-of-the-customer may be one of the most important elements of the success formula.
About the Author
Daniel Dejan is the North American ETC print and creative manager for Sappi Fine Paper North America.A dedicated graphics arts educator and author with many years of national and international experience, Dejan has been invited to judge numerous graphic design and print competitions, written extensively for graphic arts trade publications and has served on the Board of several graphic arts associations and companies.
Voice-of-the-Customer Case Study