In 1954 Peter Drucker published “The Practice of Management” in which he stated that companies have only two functions: marketing and innovation. By this he meant that everything else is just details. In this scenario, marketing is the process of creating value for our customers today and innovation is the process of ensuring that we continue to add value tomorrow. Companies are then organizational systems created to create value today and continue to do so tomorrow.
Digital technology or «digitalization» applied to marketing is the use of digital tools, techniques and tactics to create value for consumers. Digital tools today are fulfilling their promise to create value to the extent that companies take advantage of them to listen to what the market demands and facilitate that, between the company and the market, we can talk. Listen and speak. Prefer the conversation about self-promotion.
Listen and Speak
The Companies listen to the market as we apply digital tools to capture and analyze the use of our websites, mobile apps and social profiles. We listen as we capture and analyze the keywords they use to refer to us and the topics of conversation and comments that users make about our companies and brands. In digital channels, we also listen when it comes to follow our competitors on their social profiles and topics of interest to our markets through online groups and forums.
We speak to the market to persuade consumers to prefer us by offering them promotions and discounts or by offering arguments in favor of our advantages and qualities. We speak to the market when we create content through videos, blog posts, and social media posts, and yes indeed, through advertisements and advertising as well. We also speak to the market when we assist potential or current clients through online assistance with chats and call centers or with documentation, databases or support systems.
However, due to the two-way nature of the digital channel, it is not enough to speak without first listening, nor is it enough to listen without interest or without the intention to participate in the conversation.
Automation enters as a tool in your digital arsenal. Automation allows “active listening” where the digital tool listens and interprets what is heard and translates it into one or more automatic actions. This encourages starting a conversation according to the feeling, urgency and themes reflected by the client.
For example, the next time someone posts a complaint or problem with their product or service in a public online space, we want the automation tool to take notice, interpret the tone and theme, and respond with a message that reflects their concern and indicates instructions to follow and resolve it. A support person or customer service person is immediately alerted to the situation to take action on the matter and continue the conversation.
Start with the Human
I recently had the opportunity to advise a company with a chain of branches in the financial sector. The company had its branches digitally mapped well, and customers frequently used their profiles to comment on and evaluate each branch. Most of the comments were about various frustrations and complaints about the company and the reviews (“stars”) they received were, lest say, mediocre.
The company lived a bit tormented by this situation. Instead of feeling that the digital profiles of the branches helped to position the company, they felt that they might devalue it. We applied automation to collect, interpret and thematize complaints so that the company could address them. This process, however, resulted in little improvement in the average evaluation of its branches. It seemed that customers viewed the social profile as a space to unburden themselves and find other people with similar experiences. We wondered if there was a way for people to use these spaces to share their comments and evaluations when they were happy.
And that was how the situation was changed. Company staff in the branches were trained to ask customers who visited them to send their comments and evaluation through the branch’s social profile. The clients were very enthusiastic about the task. In less than two months they collected more than 3,000 comments and evaluations from clients, most of whom were happy with the company. In no time the profiles were filled with comments of gratitude, happiness and “5-stars”. This fingerprint of happiness was born from good experiences between people.
Digital marketing is a scaffold that allows building conditions for there to be an exchange of value with the market. Automation is a tool that allows you to fulfill this promise.
VP Services and Solutions