By nickjohnson - January 12th, 2013

This is the third in our series of blog posts on the big marketing themes that emerged from an in-depth period of primary research with over 100 CMOs and other senior marketers. The first theme was ‘Customer Centricity’ and the second was ‘The Accessible Consumer’.

So it turns out that mass marketing now gets a 2% response rate. And it’s dropping.

Unsurprising, really - whenever anyone asks consumers what they want, it’s pretty rare they say “Boilerplate sales messages please”.

Your customers now want valuable, long-term engagement with a company that seems to give a damn who they are and what they care about.

Our third theme is the need for CMOs to completely shift how they engage with their consumers - from short-term, mass market, declarative messaging. Now you’ve got to create long-term relationships, based on valuable content and conversations.

Talk like a human - and sing from the same hymn-sheet

The advent of social media has meant that the world of separate internal and external messaging has disappeared. If a customer talks to your Customer Service department, they expect the same response they’d get if they talk to marketing, or sales, or engineering. Creating a unified external face is critical. If you want to build long-term relationships, you’ve got to have a consistent, human voice - coming from all levels of your organisation.

Create valuable content to foster meaningful relationships

Further, customers are no longer happy with receiving badly-targetted sales messages. When social got popular and companies jumped on the bandwagon, they expended all their efforts gathering followers. And then they tried to sell to them.

Didn’t work.

Customers don’t want exclusive deals. Or interesting new products. They want valuable information that matters to them.

So content creation and distribution is the second piece of the puzzle. You’ve got to create content that is engaging, relevant and of value to your consumers.

So, two more problems to wrestle with. First, you’ve got to get every internal department singing from the same hymn-sheet. They’re all external-facing now, and they’ve got to act like it.

Second, if you’re going to raise awareness, build relationships, and engender loyalty, traditional marketing doesn’t cut it. Start generating (good) content.

There’s a lot on your plate…

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