| by Alive

Customer communications then and now. Are they really that different?

Awesome dog wearing crown - ShutterstockAwesome dog wearing crown - Shutterstock

The Planner provides the insight – The Creative comes up with the ‘Big idea’ – The Media Buyer…well buys media and BOOM! Results.

Unfortunately, I was a fresh faced student when this statement was true. A time when agencies had long lunches, good lead times and big budgets to play with. But it’s very clear that the world has changed, customers are more savvy and the old spray and pray campaigns don’t work anymore.

In this new world you can catch up on your favourite programme while on the train, wearing the Nike trainers you designed, eating snacks that were selected prepared and delivered especially for you. There’s no doubt that the customer is in the driving seat. They have more power than ever in determining what they see, how they see it and when they see it. Even with Facebook advertising, people can set their preferences, switch off ads that they don’t like and never see them again. Everything’s a bit smarter.

Add to that buzz words like “Big Data” and the “Internet of things” coupled with new platforms and emerging technologies and there’s a melting pot of possibilities for building long term brand value and customer loyalty. It’s a massively exciting time!

But this landscape is giving both agencies and CMO’s a headache as each fumbles around to try and put the different channels into a box and retrofit them into their plans.

Understanding where each element fits in the overall comms strategy and where best to target spend is increasingly a pain point for big businesses.

Above the line, below the line, through the line – fuck the line!
Through all of this change, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed a bit. Our challenge is the same as it has always been - to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time to ignite a response. We just have a much bigger, better playground to play in, and the insight to be able to speak to people based on their own actions and interests.

It’s time to start thinking in a post-digital marketing mind-set. We need to stop talking about channels and lines, and instead just think about the customer.

Whether working on an acquisition campaign for Brandon Hire, or online customer experience for Toyota, at Alive we place the customer at the heart of everything we do. It’s the only way we can create work that works. Print, digital, mobile, experiential and all of the other tactics are just execution options - the customer insight decides which is the most suitable, not an agency’s specialist skillset.

But it takes effort, and lazy execution doesn’t work. Simply re-purposing a press release as a blog post or tweaking a print ad to fit online doesn’t cut it. Each activity needs as much creativity and thought put into it as the next.

The customer is still King
In the past, big corporate machines have been able to defended market share for years because barriers to entry were so high that disruptive competitors couldn’t get off the ground. They are now starting to feel some serious heat as those barriers are being torn down by cloud technology and accessibility.

Many of these lumbering giants are stuck with legacy systems, trying hard to play catch up while small agile competitors differentiate themselves with new business models, winning hearts and minds with great customer experiences.

It’s the same scenario with agencies.

We need to keep pushing the customer agenda and work with all clients, big and small, to develop their processes, knowledge and relevance to help build and keep deeper relationships with the people that matter to them most.

So are communications today really that different?

Nah. We just wish we could have more boozy lunches.

Tom Daplyn
Business Director

Tel: 0121 212 0232
Web: www.wearealive.co.uk
Twitter: @alivecomms


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