By Amanda Berkey
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Each Thursday at 11 a.m. EST, marketers from around the world join the ExactTarget user community on Twitter for a conversation about trends and campaign ideas across the interactive marketing industry. We call the virtual coffee chat the Nexus Café.
For a recent #NexusCafe chat we asked Jeff Rohrs, VP of marketing and leader of the research team at ExactTarget, to share some insights from one of the latest research papers The 2012 Channel Preference Survey. The brief is part of an ongoing research series Subscribers, Fans, and Followers, that examines consumer behavior across Email, Facebook, and Twitter. This research report discusses how consumers communications preferences are shaped by their unprecedented social and mobile connectivity through smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops in the Post-PC era.
Here's the summary of our conversation:
@ETNexus Q1: Modern marketers are faced with a unique challenge of reaching audiences. How do you determine which messaging channels to use and when?
@jkrohrs: Determining the right channel in the Post-PC era is a matter of knowing your audience & their behaviors.
@jkrohrs: Consumer fragmentation across multiple devices/channels dictating that consumers & not brands dictate right time/right channel.
@coreybauer: I think it's best to make messages available via multiple channels and let the customer dictate how they want to receive it
@emailrocks: I don't know how it can start anywhere other than web and email analytics to determine if you have a mobile audience
@csabbarese: Wherever your target audiences hang out and determine when they are most active...then get busy
@jkrohrs: You certainly need to review your analytics to know your consumers' device & channel preferences.
@candicelyn: Trial and error, testing different mediums with difference audiences has been important to us
@ETNexus Q2: What are the main factors that dictate channel preference?
@jkrohrs: Six factors that dictate channel pref: Content Type, Immediacy of Need, Archival Needs, Privacy, Formality Need, How Initiated
@coreybauer: Ease of use, Customers (like water) will take the path of least resistance :)
@coskier: Demographic partially, but seasonality too. At AAA, we saw more mobile use in the summer travel season.
@candicelyn: Sadly, resources available is a main factor
@jkrohrs: @Candicelyn Good point. Resources def. can constrain cross-channel options. Still, offer what's feasible & meet expectations.
@kkestler: Overall lifestyle is a big driver. Do you want short, info-dense comm or do you have the time for a more long-form convo?
@ETNexus Q3: Are there cautions marketers should take when respecting channels that consumers reserve for personal communications? Thoughts on ground rules?
@jkrohrs: SMS is a VERY personal channel. And yet, consumers will grant limited permission to brands they trust for info they need.
@jkrohrs: Remember that SMS opt-in/permission doesn't have to be forever. Seeing great results with limited time opt-in around events.
@coreybauer: If you force your message into a customers personal communication channel - the message will not be well received.
@bethleleck: It's important to respect consumer preferences. Offer multiple channels for consumers to connect, let them choose.
@kkestler: That's really it, isn't it? RESPECT them! Always have permission & take advantage of personal channels with personalized comm.
@StudioKandM: Yes i.e. texting should be used very carefully. Most people use it very personally and would begin to consider you as spam.
@susanprater: Honor their preferences, especially frequency.
@FreshPoints: Absolutely, building trust is a major part of building a successful brand. Invading privacy is not well received
@ETNexus Q4: Email is overwhelmingly the preferred channel in every age category for marketing messages. How do you ensure your email campaign evolves to keep up your audience engaged?
@jkrohrs: Don't forget that your brand is critically important in shaping consumer expectations about frequency, channel propriety, etc.
@jkrohrs: Through constant evaluation of your performance analytics, testing new approaches, and by asking your subscribers.
@coreybauer: "Content Is King" - Give them a reason to open and engage - social integration can do wonders within email.
@jkrohrs: If content is king, context is queen. And she'll help you offer consumers the best channel for the job
@CentralStGames: To the point, catchy subject line
@JeremyBednarski: Once you have permission, use the opportunity to surprise and delight your customer. Doesn't have to be prize, solve a problem or give advice.
@kkester: Measure, analyze, adjust. Rinse, repeat.
@ETNexus Q5: What is the biggest differences that you've seen in the last few years with channel preferences and email campaigns? How have you adjusted?
@jkrohrs: Seeing a trend of using Facebook to drive email subscribers since brands control message cadence, delivery & measurement better there.
@coreybauer: Absolutely have had to adjust strategy - If you do not adapt, you become irrelevant. Customers lose interest quickly.
@ryanleecox: Talking less, listening more. Provide value & the execute on delivering on that value to increase profit for clients/services.
@candicelyn: We started by creating strategies (basics I know) and actually tracking them instead of just pushing info out
@ETNexus Q6: How does direct mail fit into the mix in your campaigns?
@jkrohrs: Don't let the USPS news dictate how direct mail plays in your cross-channel marketing efforts. Consumer response should.
@briandshelton: Direct mail serves multiple purposes: Introduction, Invitation, Information, All are important in relationship lifecycle
@coskier: Direct mail has highly predictable ROI rates too. RT @amandaberkey: Direct mail has a place even in our digital marketing realm
@ETNexus Q7: Do your think teen audiences forecast a future of more fragmentation of messaging channels as they age?
@jkrohrs: Teens channel usage dictated more by life-stage than generational differences. Not a fan of teens as leading indicators.
@coskier: Evolution of digital space will fragment the channels - teens are along for the ride but will influence channel popularity.
@ryanleecox: Messaging channels are going to become mobile intense (current standards x100) and real-time video. Consensus prediction.
@ETNexus Q8: Clearly, marketers have to embrace cross-channel. What are some tips for cross-channel marketing?
@jkrohrs: Bring your email, mobile & social teams together. Cross-channel can't work if they're siloed, rogue agents.
@ryanleecox: Inclusion not exclusion. Have teams understand the message and the mission. They should be supporting, not competing.
@coreybauer: Change up your messaging by channel - Customers don't want the same message for different ways (overwhelms them)
@briandshelton: Consistency of voice/brand. Relevance of content. Integration based on overall strategy.