Customer stays the king! a well-known statement that speaks for itself. A customer is the most powerful entity in the entire chain of marketing entities that hold the key to the evolution of marketing practices. There has been a paradigm shift in the way customers made purchase decisions in the past, then the way they do it today, where customer intelligence was limited to a limited number of product or service alternatives for them to pick and choose and compare. It all started with the great race of industrial revolutions that altered the balance of products and services against consumers. Today, for every product or services there are innumerable options and the that allowed consumers to compare to make the right choice.
The Analog to Digital Transition
While the analog methods of marketing from the old times still are in practice, they too have evolved and the influence of digital has empowered the existence substantially. Magazines, box packaging, newspapers, posters, billboards and many of these practices are still effective corresponding to the consumer demographics, tastes, and even the product persona. However, digital ways like the application of QR Codes, RFID technologies, augmented reality, social integration and much more have added value to the creation of brand persona and perception for a consumer.
Today, for any product launch or re-launch marketing strategy, marketing teams analyze the consumer segment and research for the best channels that can make the deep impact for the best of customer journeys. Every implementation creates a ripple of experience and has a tide of its own. Each height of these tides is measured by the conversion that happens under a marketing funnel for the experience it draws in the mind of a consumer, leaving an impact – positive or negative. It’s very important that the world of traditional marketers understand that it is not a takeover by the digital methods and analog methods are on exit mode. Rather it is a transition phase of a logical merger between analog and digital.
Today’s marketing is getting under a perception cloud that digital is the new driving force to fuel the brand marketing with customers money and the worst that says digital defines the success of brands. While digital marketing does make a lot of sense with digital connect with the customers in real time through digital touch points and tracking behavior of customers on each of those touchpoints provides intelligence, drives progressive customer journeys – analog marketing depends on the reactive feedback of consumers to collate possibilities of brand success. Though the effort is to equip these analog methods with digital counterpart technologies that allow customers to avail the experience of analog and at the same time convert them digitally for drawing actionable insights. This is the balance that today’s marketers need to bring in, the balance of analog and digital practices for the best customer experience of brands of the future.
The Active Customer
Optimistically, I consider this a positive sign of convergence, where the customer of this age is actively participating in exploring possibilities, in hope for better product and service experiences with added values. As marketers, we need to recognize and respect this as an opportunity, engaging the active customer in experiences that can allow them to converse with the brand and establish a connect for the future experiences. Journeys using analog and digital interfaces need to be designed intelligently, knowing the tastes, lifestyles, expectations, beliefs, motivation and many such behavioral aspects of customers which would anchor brand-customer relationship in the context of digital perceptions leading to actionable insights. We need to expand our ways of thinking and define the brand potential enabling brand promises. Choice of specific multi channel connect strategies would play a vital role and so would their relevant connected experiences that need to converge into well-conceived strategic marketing funnels.
Let us drive this through an example. For a new product launch – An Electronic Hair Styling Device, let us evaluate how the combination of digital and analog content can make a considerable impact for optimal conversion. Below is a list of probable implementations that can work best for it.
- Transparent Product Packaging with a QR Code at the bottom
- Print Ads on Leading Magazines with QR Codes
- Print Ads on Newspapers with ‘Magic Codes’ – Alpha Numeric Codes
- Product Videos for TV Broadcast, YouTube marketing
- Billboard Advertisement with App Download with ‘Magic Codes’
- Online Advert Campaigns using visual assets from billboard and print ads
- Social Media Campaigns using visual assets from billboard and print ads and product videos from TV broadcasts and You tube marketing.
- Product Website that seamlessly converges experiences initiated by customer journeys from packaging to print ads, TV broadcasts and online campaigns and so on so forth
- A Digital Stunt App – With AR, VR and QR code scanning capabilities that work as experience enhancer for the customer.
As I said possibilities are endless, it is a creative mind of a marketer and the intelligence about the customer that defines more and more implementations. I leave it on to you now to make combinations by merging experiences of analog and digital.