For CMOs Who Want Innovation Over Predictability
In my dealings with the CMOs of mid-market companies regarding their customer communications, three things stand out:
1. All the CMOs I talk to, without exception, are eager to move away from print & post, primarily because of the high costs and secondly because it’s nearly impossible to measure the impact of print & post communications.
2. Frustration with traditional outsourced mail-houses is running strong. Costs, lack of responsiveness and loss of control of IP are the key factors.
3. There is now a very clear understanding of the need for customer communications to be, well customer-centric, to focus on strengthening the relationship and to work toward a kind of intimacy.
When I get to talk with the CIOs of these same mid-market companies, I hear these three themes time and again:
1. A high degree of frustration that they have to deal with unresponsive and expensive mail-houses.
2. Constant pressure from their CMO to help bring marketing campaigns to customers faster.
3. The difficulty of having solid data from the systems being used that can define the performance of customer communications.
Today’s mid-market companies are trying to pivot toward a centralized and coordinated communications strategy across all channels, leveraging each interaction to deliver consistent, timely, and relevant messaging.
Instead of investing in the costly upgrades that are needed to modernize their internal operations, enterprises are increasingly turning to Cloud providers to generate their customer communications and manage complex multi-channel distribution. Cost reduction is always top-of-mind for mid-market companies, but security and legal compliance have equal weighting.
Here are a few of the top trends that AIRDOCS sees are shaping customer communications strategies for mid-market companies:
1. Although the desire for cost reduction and containment persists, enterprises are also focusing on personalized, high-quality communications that secure improved response rates, enable measurement of the RoI, and contribute to top-line growth.
2. Mid-market companies are trying to pivot toward a centralized and coordinated communications strategy across all channels, leveraging each interaction to deliver consistent, timely, and relevant messaging.
3. Demand for direct mail varies greatly, but poor returns from mail campaigns are prompting companies to recast their communications channels. While many mid-market companies still rely on direct mail, few are happy with the lack of data that could reveal how their customers feel.
4. Although some mid-market companies may not be ready to adopt emerging technologies like personalized videos and augmented reality, they want a technology partner with advanced capabilities to future-proof their communications strategies and act as a trusted advisor to help them achieve their business goals.
5. Instead of investing in the costly upgrades that are needed to modernize their internal operations, mid-market companies are increasingly turning to Cloud providers to manage the complexities of data-driven communications.
One of our roles at AIRDOCS is to help companies move from “company-centric” marketing to “customer-centric” communication. AIRDOCS strongly believes that companies that understand, and best connect with, the emotional needs of customers will gain a very significant competitive advantage.
Messaging, and the way in which messages resonate with customers, has little to do with the size of a business. What customers want to hear is that their needs are going to be met, and that’s more important to them than the size of the company they are dealing with.
When we talk about winning “hearts and minds,” it’s not accidental that hearts come before minds. It’s critical to make the emotional connection with customers before the commercial one. Many businesses brag to their customers: “we have this many locations, this many awards, we’ve been in business for decades, our prices are great.” Reality is, customers just don’t care.
But if you make an emotional connection first, if you show customers you appreciate who they are and what matters most to them, and that you can solve their problems, then they’ll let you prove it to them with your actions.
Every time you communicate with your customers, you’re in effect telling a bit more of your story as it relates to solving their problems. You’re emphasizing by the way you personalize the messages, that you appreciate they are different. When you approach your customer communications from this angle it enables the forming of strong bonds that aren’t readily broken. It is in fact what AIRDOCS calls a kind of Mass Intimacy.
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