Imagine: There’s a great guy, Ben, who just signed up for a dating site. He spends serious time editing his profile, getting the stamp of approval from his gal pals, and he even bears the taunting from the buddies he cropped out of his new profile picture.
The hits come rolling in. Winks and likes and email messages — even a few emoji with the heart eyes. Ben is pumped.
And then Ben drafts an email. He copies and pastes that email to 15 different eligible ladies. And he waits…
The Sad Story Of Impersonal Ben
One or two write back. The rest think his email seems oddly impersonal. (And since they’re getting hit up by 20 other guys, they’ve lost interest in Impersonal Ben.)
Ben is pissed that after months of this, he’s still single. And he’s still investing money and time in this site. His profile is perfect. He’s still acquiring those winks and likes and heart eye emojis… But there’s no retention. No loyalty. No commitment.
Worse still, he’s earned a spot on ByeFelipe and a bit of a negative reputation among the ladies along with it.
If we were friends with Ben we’d smack him upside the noggin and tell him he’s got it all wrong. He needs to personalize those emails, he needs to follow up, and he needs to ask for the date. And then a second date. And he needs to learn about these women. And put that learning into action. Her favorite food is Italian? Guess where you’re booking your next date together?
It seems like a no brainer, and yet…
Ben & Super Bowl Advertisers Have Something In Common
The Super Bowl. The #BrandBowl. It’s a bunch of eligible brands with great profiles putting their stuff out there for interested consumers and then … nada.
This is what happens to most brands after the Super Bowl. Similar to Ben’s one-off tactics, the majority of brands will lose site of their true focus: creating long-term relationships with consumers- and will instead get caught up in the flash and fun of the moment. They’re getting stuck in capturing attention and then they fumble the ball. (See what I did there?)
Like Ben looking for companionship on a dating site, these brands will unwisely view that one-time interest, that fleeting spike in their online reach, as some measure of success. This is NOT a true measure of success though – just like someone liking your dating profile isn’t. Likewise, neither scenario indicates a long-term relationship is on the horizon – at least, not without the brand putting a little work in to the relationship!
How? Brand managers need to change that “one-off” mindset in their organizations (and save a TON of money), by refocusing those marketing dollars to a long-term strategy that keeps consumers coming back for more.
Trendjacking: Dropping The Ball On Follow-Through
Many brands blow their marketing budget attempting to “trendjack” some key happening (like the Super Bowl). For the uninitiated, trendjacking is when brands cleverly insert themselves in a trending conversation to win some potentially viral PR. Many marketing pros will caution you against this practice though, because too many brands do trendjacking badly. During the SuperBowl some brands went so far as to leverage key words and searches for other brands with creative campaigns in the big game. Et-em Budweiser.
Hey, @BUDWEISER! Stop bidding on our ad keywords. Love, Loctite
— Loctite Glue (@LoctiteGlue) February 2, 2015
When done correctly, trendjacking CAN pay off – but what happens when it does? It’s a flash in the pan that looks fantastic for a minute and disappears. It’s a heart-eyes emoji. Trendjacking is not a strategy in itself, it’s one piece of an overarching “Acquire Mindset” where most brands find themselves. And it’s time to rethink that mindset if you hope to keep that hard-won momentum moving.
Rethinking The Acquire Mindset
Once you’ve attracted your target audience’s attention, now what? “Acquire” can’t be your end game. It’s like Ben sending an email and then never following through to schedule the date. Or making a sale/getting the date, and then expecting the next sale/date to just spontaneously happen – and then wondering why it doesn’t. It’s an entirely preventable waste of time.
Brands, like bad daters, keep spending money on advertising (or dating site subscriptions) for these one-off interactions and look to create new ads to attract new consumers/dates all over again when things don’t work out. It seems pretty obvious, and savvy brands are realizing the acquire, acquire, acquire mindset does NOT lead to a meaningful long-term relationship.
Loyalty Leads to Love
Replace that “spray and pray” approach that plagues most businesses – and their budgets – with something that converts consumers more than once is critical. The cost of attaining new customers is at least five times more expensive than retaining an existing one, and that estimate is kind with many putting it closer to ten.
How do you retain these new consumers attained via your trendjacking/acquire efforts? You need to build a personalized, relevant relationship with these consumers – and it needs to start with that first contact or like Ben, you’ll be single forever. Here’s how:
- Implement behavior tracking, receipt scanning and other activity monitoring to inform your efforts.
- Create incentives for specific behaviors that are important to the brand.
- Offer an omni-channel brand experience so you capture social, mobile and in-store activity.
- Aggregate and amplify social media conversations and user-generated content to encourage interaction and keep your brand top of mind.
- Connect all of your social channels and digital sources in one place.
- Track and measure your efforts, tweaking your tactics to meet your target demographics. Data is your wingman.
The sum of your efforts should be promoting loyalty to your brand and creating personalized experiences that your consumers look forward to receiving. It’s taking a 360-degree view of your audience and generating offers that make sense for specific consumer segments – and pushing those offers to the right people, on the right channel, at the right time.
If a girl says she hates text and appreciates a phone call — you’re not going to text her. If a consumer hates emails from brands but appreciates timely SMS messages… it’s not a good idea to blast her with your newsletter.
If you’re not doing that today, you need to. Or you need to just stop marketing entirely because this personalized approach is what consumers increasingly demand and if you’re doing something else, you’re really just throwing money away and generating bad PR for your efforts . . . like Ben.
Robyn Hannah is PunchTab’s Vice President of Communications and Public Relations. She is passionate about building lasting relationships with reporters, editors, publishers, influencers, and partners who help spread the PunchTab story. Connect with her on Twitter @robynhannah.
Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.