Wise Marketing Investments for 2010

Josh GordonI have scoured the industry news wires this week and discovered two pieces that portend good things for direct digital marketing. One of the key outcomes of successful direct digital marketing - besides the obvious outcomes like lift in sales volume - is the dramatic improvements that are made to the overall consumer experience through relevance, and the resulting byproduct of increased customer loyalty.
As the importance of the consumer experience continues to evolve within marketing organizations, one reality is becoming clear - consumers do not just want a quality experience, they are demanding it.

Strativity Group recently published a report entitled “2009 Customer Experience Consumer Study” that surveyed nearly 2,000 consumers uncovered some important truths. The report did not just uncover the obvious conclusion that consumers prefer a good experience. It was the discovery of the punitive backlash for a bad experience that underscores the value of relevant direct digital marketing communications. The report highlights that dissatisfied customers are ten times more likely than loyal customers to completely stop doing with business with a company. There have always been plenty of good reasons to invest in improving the customer experience – better sales, increased loyalty, a longer tail on customer relationships, more revenue per purchase, etc. What is now beginning to emerge is the opportunity cost of failing to invest in the consumer experience. Sure, more money can be made with a good consumer experience, but much can be lost without it.

The other interesting article from the week comes from James Bickers, editor at RetailCustomerExperience.com. Bickers writes about the increasing customer reliance on online reviews. Not only are the reviews important to consumers in helping move the sales process along (according to Neilsen 70 percent of shoppers trust them), groups are beginning to form studies around how to convince more consumers to contribute them. If customers are offered incentives to contribute their opinions, as one of the four recommendations Bickers’ articles suggests, that is a bonus to consumers.

The more reviews that are contributed, the more important it is for brands to provide access to the reviews. While the information is primarily housed online only, providing access to it in store or through other direct digital marketing channels like email and mobile is a sure-fire way to improve the consumer experience even more across the wide array of touch points.

While the economy is improving, marketing strategists must invest in the areas that promise the most marketing ROI. Direct digital marketing, and improvements in the customer experience, are good investments right now.

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