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Cintia Miranda Cintia Miranda
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Website: pulsemarketingagency.com

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The Marketing Edge - Customer engagement in the digital marketing era

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I remember when I got my first office job in 1996 - 15 years ago. I was working in Boston. At that time, mass marketing was still the name of the game, but email marketing was already a large industry, and growing with each passing year. It was the newest marketing "science," and was at times mind-boggling to marketers, who attended conferences and seminars dealing with subject lines, open rates, and click-throughs.

When social networking came onto the scene in the early 2000s, I remember many people saying that it would not last - it was a gossip center, and one driven by novelty. When the newness had faded, so would the social networking fad. But over time, the reality that emerged was different than what many had expected: companies realized that along with gossip and sharing, they had found a new platform that provided an unprecedented level of intimacy between businesses and consumers. Soon, the latter began to demand higher levels of interaction. This imposed a burden of sorts on companies struggling to maintain a strong presence on social networks; but it also gave them the ability to become more influential in their customer's lives than ever before.

Today, many businesses are coming to an uncomfortable realization: The old-fashioned way of communicating with their customers - one that stood the test of time for decades - simply does not work any longer. Consumers have a newfound appreciation for dialogue and feedback. The old "broadcast" method of disseminating your corporate message - where one person does the talking and everyone else sits and listens - now feels tired and stale. Customers have grown impatient with monologues. Now, they want to have their say: People choose who they want their news from, what blogs they read and comment on, who they connect with, and - most importantly - who they don't. And loyalty doesn't mean the same thing it used to, either: With attention spans shortening each year, your company can go from a customer's favorite to forgotten in the space of a month if they stop hearing from you. The bottom line? People now expect to be part of their news, not just receive it.

But how does this all relate to your firm's activities? First, your marketing efforts need to be managed more closely than ever before. Marketers increasingly rely on tightly-segmented lists in order to reach the correct audience. Mass marketing - where you cast as wide a net as possible in hopes of getting a sizeable response through economies of scale alone - is no longer an option. Forget about the one-size-fits-all approach. You need accurate data about your customer base in order to make smart decisions about when and where to engage individual customers, what information to deliver, and how to craft your message to maximize response. In social media marketing, there is no B2B or B2C - there is only you and the person on the other side - it can't get any more personal than that. In order to succeed, you must have a strategy:

1) Set your marketing objectives

2) Define the mission for your campaign: branding, lead generation, etc.

3) What is your story? In the social media world, you must have a story to tell. Always. Without the human angle, people will see right through your sales pitch.

4) Find your voice - remember, you're talking to individual people, not other marketers or sales reps.

5) Make full use of all the resources in your tool box. Social media marketing isn't just about Facebook, Twitter, etc. - it's about the big picture.

6) Above all, focus on your data (and your audience). If you aren't reaching people, try something new. Never assume your campaign is working unless the numbers back up that assumption.

The consumer of 2011 is more sophisticated - and requires much more attention - than the consumer of 1996. You'll need to work harder for your sale. But the results are absolutely worth the effort.

Cntia Miranda is the president of Pulse Marketing Agency. Learn more about her work at www.pulsemarketingagency.com.

Last modified on Friday, 01 June 2012 16:09

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