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The death of campaign management?

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16th Sep 2013
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Every technology has its lifecycle stages – the intro, growth, maturity, and the inevitable decline stage. But what about marketing approaches – do they also reach the end-of-life? Campaign management as we know it seems to be reaching that stage.

The rigid approach of marketing campaigns, based on fixed audience groups, predetermined timing, and periodic sale events, seems to be coming up short in the age of individualisation, immediacy, and social-media-aware consumers.

Personalisation

Marketing campaigns have traditionally been centred on audience segmentation.  Using demographics, geographical attributes, or other criteria, marketing messages were constructed to match an audience group - young professionals, teenage girls 12-19, or even kids living in Northern Japan.

In the ecommerce world, segmentation has long been replaced with personalised marketing. Log in to Amazon and you’ll get suggestions matching your individual preferences and your last purchase of cycling shoes – regardless of whether you belong to generation X, Y, or live in an elderly house in Macau. No more broad marketing messages, but instead – tailored messages aimed at the individual customer.

Even Coca Cola, which cannot tailor its offering to individuals, has realised the value of segment-of-one marketing. Using its “Share a Coke” program the company displayed individual names on Coke bottle labels and has triggered brand engagement on a personal level.

In the internet and social media age, consumers are increasingly expecting to be treated as individuals, and companies are responding.

Timing and context

Online technologies have set new standards for the timing, context and immediacy of marketing. Consider elements like A/B testing – experimenting with several variants of marketing messages on the web; or re-marketing techniques – the ability to instantly follow up on users when they abandon their shopping cart.

In the telecommunication world, forward-looking operators can deliver real-time, contextual offers to subscribers in response to their needs. A prepaid subscriber, for example, can automatically be sent a top-up offer when her balance reaches a certain level. The bundle, keep in mind, is tailored to the subscriber’s average spend in the last three months.

And instead of static marketing campaigns, mobile operators are implementing dynamic, multi-stage campaigns with a series of offers automatically sent to each customer based on the individual response.

The ‘static’ nature of marketing campaigns is replaced with dynamic marketing, which can identify individual customer needs and changes in status, and can then respond in real time with the right offers.

Continuous engagement

The predominant state of mind in marketing campaigns is ‘sell now.’ Put together an attractive offer; communicate it effectively; and, well, close the sale. In a few weeks or months, repeat the same process– possibly for a different product or service.

But to retain customers in competitive, commoditised markets and build loyalty, you need more than that. You must engage with customers on an ongoing basis - provide help, free offers, service messages, and establish communication and trust that extend beyond the one-time sale.

Flexibility

Above-the-line marketing campaigns typically have a fixed time frame and rigid process. You’d begin with planning; continue with constructing messaging and purchasing media; and finally launch and analyse. Not satisfied with results? You could always improve the next campaign.

But today’s real-time marketing requires the flexibility of measuring, adjusting, fine-tuning and optimising – all within the same campaign. When a mobile operator sends out SMS offers only to discover that results are below expectations, adjustments can be made in near real time, without waiting for next months’ campaign.

The bottom line

The impact of a contextual, real-time marketing approach can be dramatic. In the telecom world we have seen a X5-X10 increase in subscriber response rates, with significant uplifts in revenues and weighty reductions in churn.

Efrat Nakibly is director of corporate marketing at Pontis

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