By Jay McKeever
Anyone in marketing knows it’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect with existing and prospective customers. Studies show that loyalty to brands has eroded sharply. Adult shoppers across all age groups in the 1970s were highly influenced by brand. Today, even loyalty from those over 60 years old (the most brand-loyal segment of consumers) has dropped by 20 percent in the past 25 years
The return on marketing investments is also dropping:
The amount of time necessary to break even in the mobile phone industry has grown from 6.8 months in 1998 to 7.2 months in 2003. Of marketers, 68 percent have difficulty or cannot measure the ROI of their marketing campaigns.
But there is hope. A previous generation of marketers learned how to promote their products and services on revolutionary media like radio and television. Today, you’ve probably already helped build your company’s e-marketing strategies.
The message is the problem
Faced with servicing a more educated, sophisticated clientele, today’s marketers and customer-service representatives must contend with challenging customer demands. As product and service offerings become more abundant and less differentiated from competitive offerings, customer communications become a decisive factor in determining which companies win the hearts and minds of prospective customers — and which fall by the wayside.
Effective customer communications seems simple enough, but on closer inspection, it’s readily apparent that today’s corporations deliver fragmented, inconsistent and often downright confusing messages to their customers. Here are just a few examples of how most companies fall short:
Good communications are bidirectional in nature. To that end, getting an effective message to the customer is only half the battle. The other half entails effective listening.