I conducted a survey on LinkedIn about the relationship between marketing channels and the perception of being valued. There were some clear winners and losers… and a clear link; Human Interaction.
Why did I decide to conduct the research? I have seen the whirlwind advance of digital marketing and the stampede as Marketing Managers race to ‘land grab’ their part of the digital space. But can our marketing truly connect with buyers if we treat them as just ‘data’ and a ‘digital footprint’?
In the frenzy, I believe we may have lost sight of one enduring fact… buyers are people; always have been, always will be.
To get some objective evidence, I invited Managers outside the marketing department to participate in my research, and to further avoid any prejudice in their choice, I phrased the question in a non-marketing format. Over 100 buyers responded to the following question:
“It’s your birthday. Five friends use different methods to congratulate you. Which friend values you most?”
Simon visits you at home (Field Sales/Events)
Heather gives you a telephone call (Telemarketing)
Raj sends you a birthday card (Direct Mail)
Daniel sends you a text message (Mobile Marketing)
Alex sends you an email (Email Marketing)
Sally posts a message on Facebook (Social Media)
The results were very revealing, as channels that use Human Interaction (HI) performed best (see Chart I). I define HI as a two-way, ‘live’ conversation (either face-to-face or over the telephone). Note how the digital channels of Email, Mobile Marketing and Social Media are seen to value people least.
It’s still a multi-channel world, and successful campaigns require a mix of the most appropriate and effective tools. But ‘variety’ is sometimes missing from many B2B campaigns as Marketing Managers perhaps rely on digital to provide all their solutions.
So why is making customers feel valued so important?
Buying behaviour has changed, the internet has made it easier to source new suppliers and change supplier the minute a better price is offered. Alternative suppliers are just a click away. To keep customers loyal, you need to show how much you appreciate their custom.
We react to different channels in different ways, and using channels with HI has the ability to add value to the relationship. In addition, HI can cement relationships on repeat orders and increase average order value.
Check your marketing schedule and see if Telemarketing, Field Sales or Events could play a more significant role in your plans – after all, it costs 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one.
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