Do you focus on above or below the line marketing?
Above or below the line is a term that was common speak in the 80’s, used to identify whether an agency specialised in helping with mass marketing communications (e.g. TV advertising) or something with a 1:1 call to action (such as telemarketing). Some of the more cutting edge agencies graduated towards “through the line”, which focused on activities that involved both of the above.
Then the internet came along, giving way to the new digital agencies full of 20 year olds managing online strategies and purchasing for their clients. Nowadays, businesses can do far more – if not everything – of their own volition, should they desire.
You might think marketing teams would have put an end to the categorisation of how they are going to market to their customers and which strategies they are going to adopt, but the evolution from ”above/below” to “customer marketing” still has not happened and, given the speed of digital change, this seems remarkable. Why is this the case?
The number one reason is that businesses simply have not evolved internally to allow them to put the customer first and communicate with them irrespective channel or device. Businesses have finally incorporated digital within the marketing function, but most still have a person or department in charge and motivated to improve each of email, online, individual stores, applications, loyalty programmes, etc. This creates an elephant in the marketing room that few talk about. In effect you have departments fighting internally for credit over any customer successes that are achieved.
If only we worked together…
I recently hosted a get-together and needed to source some wine. I took to the internet, as you might expect, to find great deals based on my requirements. I searched largely on the website for which I have an account and have made numerous purchases before. I parked my purchase in that moment thinking that my local wine merchant may have what I’m looking for.
Do you know who I am!?
A couple of days later (before the weekend), I received a phone call from “my wine advisor” from the wine company I have been using to plan my wine requirements. I was so impressed as my mind raced ahead of me … a timely call from a rep who has seen my recent searches/previous purchase history which includes type and price with an offer and service of a life time!… Sadly, Brian let me down, calling to let me know about a new beer and competition, and had no clue of my recent activity or what persona of customer I was.
Needless to say that my local, offline wine merchant is now several hundreds of pounds better off. What a waste of a simple opportunity.
So what’s the answer?
Businesses need to evolve their communications and how they talk to their customers, in a way that makes sense based on real-time interactions and irrespective of what channel they have used to engage. It is not that hard, and use of a customer data & integration platform can transform a business and how it communicates with its customers.
Real customer marketing should be the norm.