Push, then Pull

To summarize, there are significant forces in play that require Marketing folks to realize that optimizing Marketing goes far beyond media, message, response, and all the traditional MarCom stuff. 

To take advantage of these changes, there has to be a Strategic admission that Sales, Marketing, and Service are all parts of a customer-centric whole.  Interactivity forces this on you; it’s a Relationship Marketing environment.

CMO’s have an opportunity to step up and take control of this situation.  If they don’t, the job of integrating these disciplines will be handed to a Chief Customer Officer, Chief Experience Officer, or some other needless C-Level fabrication.  And that’s not really going to work, it’s a partial solution.

For those of you with Brand as your current primary focus, it should be easy to make the argument about why this integration matters and why you should be in charge of it.   If you don’t do something about really integrating all the customer facing disciplines, examples abound of the Brand damage that can occur

No amount of “Advertising” can fix Brand rot, you have to get to the Root Cause, which is probably cross-functional in nature.  It really doesn’t make sense to ignore excellence in execution and then react to the problems caused when you can discover, address, and fix these issues before they happen.

Here are some ideas to think about on the Tactical side:

1.  Don’t use Mass Media to try and build / close Relationships; that’s a waste of time.  Use Mass Media for what it’s very efficient at - creating Awareness and Intent.  The first step of the 2-step, it’s the Push part.  If Push sounds like it’s intrusive, remember people expect Push from Mass Media to begin with.  You have the proper context; that’s why Mass Media can be effective for Push.

Use unique taglines and phrases in the execution, knowing a search on the web is a high probability next step.  Google just released a study on what this looks like for newspapers, complete with a neat PDF diagram (see page 2).  Make sure the web team is prepped for the Mass Media, that they have optimized the unique taglines and phrases for Search, both Paid and Organic.

2.  Make sure the copy directly implies you are open for the Brand Promise to be tested in an interactive environment, where Brand Proof will take place.  This will usually be the web, but it could be a call center or other venue.  Invite those with Intent to convert this Intent to Desire through Interaction with you; this is Pull. 

Focus on driving curiosity and peaking Interest rather than selling, e.g. “Want to Know More?  Here’s our web site…”

3.  Pull is self-service, it’s about proper execution - consistency with the Mass message, ease of use, transparent, Relationship building.  Potential customer is now driving, you are awaiting response.  Answer the questions raised by the Brand Promise (on a web site or in the call center), allow them to be tested. 

Don’t simply repeat the Promise – that job has already been done, it’s a waste of time, it’s redundant, not respectful. 

Instead, fully and completely Expose the Brand Promise, let it stand for testimony.  Allow Brand Proof to take place.  This is not the time to be Intrusive; that’s out of context.  Make it easy for the prospect to feed back the experience, and be ready for the dialogue.  Relationship Marketing is an Exchange, a dance, two-way, back and forth.

React and Respond.  Be “Social”, if you want to call it that.

This portion of the program – which might consist of many different campaigns driving traffic into it – is where failure most often occurs, and where you get into this whole “customer is in control” thing. 

Like that’s a negative?  What they are in control of is their own process, and what’s the matter with that?  It’s enabling, empowering for the customer; it builds the Relationship.  Hopefully, what you have done here is given control; as opposed to having it taken from you.  There is a very big difference between the two.

If the customer has to “take control”, you’re doing something wrong.  You have broken processes, you have cross-functional chaos, you’re not enabling a dialog.  Or you’ve inflated promises, created false expectations, at worst, told half-truths.  You’re creating frustration.

That’s when customers feel like they have to take control from you.

That covers the Tactics for Aquisition (AIDA), I’ll tackle Retention (S) in the next post.  As always, Comments on are appreciated.

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