Building Customer Relationships Through Effective Digital Marketing
At the core of every marketing campaign is the end consumer. The customer (or, at least, the potential customer). “The customer is always right,” the old saying goes. And this is an important factor to bear in mind when it comes time to craft a new marketing strategy.
Digital marketing today has shifted a bit away from that personal consumer connection and more into the realm of data analysis and machine learning. It’s important not to let the human side of marketing get too faded, even in the face of excellent advances in technology designed to make our lives easier, simpler, more convenient.
Building genuine connections and establishing relationships with customers should be at the forefront of any marketer’s long-term plans. Why is this so important? Because, especially today, customers want to feel valued, seen, and heard. They want to feel that any brand they patronize serves a purpose and that their hard-earned money is not being wasted.
Marketing can accomplish that first step into forging a genuine relationship. This comes down to the marketing materials that are pushed out. Are your materials too pushy with sales in mind? Do they alienate certain groups of people? Do they make a product feel out of reach? If any of the answers to these questions are “yes”, then there may be some improvements needed.
Consider this example. We’ve all heard of the term “aspirational marketing”. Instagram is one of the most perfect platforms for this type of marketing. Influencers are paid to take glamorous trips in order to elicit a “FOMO [Fear of Missing Out]” response from onlookers. In order to combat this fear, brands entice users to purchase products the influencers are promoting, or to visit the restaurants or hotels these influencers are visiting.
While this sort of aspirational marketing does work, is it really a healthy way to market to consumers? Perhaps this comes down to the core values of a company. Maybe a company exists solely to make money, and it does not care about the well-being of its customers. This works for some, but it puts a bad taste in the mouth of many others.
Aspirational marketing can still be relatable. Let’s take the influencers out of the mix for a moment. Let’s say that a hotel wants to reach new users, but the influencer route hasn’t really paid off for them. In a new tactic, the hotel hires families to come for a free visit, to act as influencers, more or less. In the ad materials created from this visit, photos show a smiling family with kids enjoying the various features of the hotel. The families aren’t glamorous, nor do they look like supermodels. They’re simply a normal family, enjoying a vacation.
The attention created by this campaign is excellent! By advertising themselves as a family-friendly place to visit, they’ve appealed to a whole new demographic. By putting out materials that are more relatable, yet still aspirational, the hotel is now able to establish meaningful connections with a new group of users who are likely to patronize the hotel and perhaps even make a return visit.
By taking stock of who a brand wants to reach and how they wish to do that, the ability to create relationships with customers becomes easier. Digital marketing has become more assisted by technology, but it’s important not to forget the human side that still needs to be a very big part of the landscape.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations.