Earlier in this text we learned about the use of AIDA (attention-interest-desire-action) in the development of a promotional strategy. For DSM marketing, we are going to employ a version of AIDA keeping the same general focus: the 4Es.
Attention – Excite
Consumers are overwhelmed with text, images, and videos. They are everywhere, all the time. Competing for the audience’s attention and awareness is difficult and needs a creative approach to excite the customer. This might be done through content, but that can be easily copied and will need to be changed often. Another way to generate that enthusiasm is to use a direct approach. The more customized and targeted the strategy, the more impact it is likely to have. As mentioned, there are many other messages competing for the target market’s attention. This competition is beyond messaging related to similar products. This is a competition for awareness and focus. A creative way of capturing the target market’s attention and getting them excited to know more about our brand or offering, is mandatory.
Interest – Educate
To capture the interest of our target market, we need to present our value proposition. In other words, why should they consider our offering over that of the competition? Being able to articulate and demonstrate our competitive advantage will educate the potential customer so they feel comfortable with their purchase decision. This education may be factual and focus on the functionality, pricing, or availability of the product. The education may be image based as well as we try to appeal to the customer on a more emotional level.
Desire – Experience
The benefit of DSM campaigns is that they are easily accessible and more depth can be given by just clicking. By getting the potential customer to click (or comment, follow, like, etc), they are signaling their interest and are open to receiving more information. This experience is what can turn their educated interest into more of a desire. The point of the experience is to jump off of the screen and become ‘real’ for the customer so they want to make a purchase or an additional commitment.
Action – Engage
DSM is different than other types of marketing strategy as the strength of DSM occurs due to the interaction with the customers. As you have learned previously, when customers are in the decision making process, they value the opinions of friends, acquaintances, family, and others that they view as being objective. DSM facilitates interactions through public postings, conversations and active responses. Companies need to manage these interactions in a strategic manner. We don’t want to limit anyone’s opinion but we want to guide them in the direction that highlights our objectives. To engage with the customer, we need to listen to them, analyze the feedback and interactions, and react immediately.
Listen – the customer speaks to companies in many ways including reactions to posts, hashtags, reviews, etc. This should not be ignored. Companies can gain valuable insights on customer perceptions of their brand, competitors brands, new opportunities, and emerging problems. Listening takes a deliberate effort from someone assigned to this task. It needs to be taken seriously. Many social media platforms have programs to help businesses do just that as discussed next.
Analyze – to understand not only what customers are saying but to also understand the effectiveness of their DSM strategy, analytics need to be utilized. There are software programs, such as Google Analytics and Salesforce, that provide valuable insights. Various platforms will provide analytics to their business customers for a fee. These analytics cover everything from hits, clicks, page views, keyword analysis to descriptions of the active users including demographics, time of usages, frequency of usage, and other sites of frequent interaction. Marketing analytics has been growing in importance and does not show any sign of abating soon. Students planning on a career in marketing should plan on taking a marketing analytics course or achieving certifications on their own.
Do – Now that we have listened to the customer and analyzed the data, we need to act on it. An unfortunate outcome for some companies is they skip this step. They get their data, look at it, and move on. While a company may be successful without acting on the data, they are setting themselves up for problems down the road. The type of action taken includes determining the type of content that achieves our objectives with specific targets, determining which platforms can be cut back on and which should be increased, and developing a new strategy based on the data. Reacting to the data will keep campaigns fresh and enticing.
The Marketing Mix in the Digital Age
The Internet has changed the way business is done in the current world. Consequently, the variables of marketing segmentation, targeting and positioning are addressed differently. Although the way new products and services are marketed have changed, the primary aim of business in bringing economic and social values have not. Indeed, all businesses seek to implement a marketing mix that increases revenues and profit, expands brand awareness, and builds customer bases. Nevertheless, marketers must take into account the following shifts, which will inevitably effect their product, promotional and pricing strategies:
- The shift from media advertising to multiple forms of communication.
- The shift from mass media to more specialized (niche) media, which are centered on specific target audiences.
- The shift from a manufacturer-dominated market to a retailer -dominated, consumer-controlled market.
- The shift from general-focus advertising and marketing to data-based marketing.
- The shift from low agency accountability to greater agency accountability, particularly in advertising.
- The shift from traditional compensation to performance-based compensation (increased sales or benefits to the company).
- The shift from limited Internet access to 24/7 Internet availability and access to goods and services.
Each element of the marketing mix must coordinate with other elements in the marketing program to ensure maximum reach and impact.
User-generated content, one of the key features of social media websites, provides a direct communication channel between buyers and sellers. Products and services are meant to satisfy customer wants and needs. Comments, ‘Likes’, and other feedback mechanisms make it even easier for satisfied or disgruntled customers to voice their opinion to not only brands, but also to current and prospective customers.
Marketing organizations must be ready to alter product features and ingredients as dictated by changes in consumer perception, as well as competitive and economic environments. However, product changes can be prompted by social media activity from stakeholders outside a brand’s consumer base. Greenpeace launched an attack on Nestlés use of palm oil in their products and its impact on the climate and natural ecosystems. When Nestlé attempted to respond to the criticism via Facebook, the public backlash was severe. As a result of the viral publicity, Nestlé subsequently increased auditing efforts in its supply chain, and promised to cancel contracts with any firm found to be chopping down rainforests to produce the palm oil used in its products.
Placement or distribution moves products from the producer to the consumer. With the Internet and social media websites, consumers now have access to more channels than ever to research, purchase and evaluate products. Both small and major brands offer e-commerce websites that allow web users to browse products and share their ‘wish lists’ or purchases with friends across social media websites. Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, allows third-party merchants to advertise their goods on the company’s e-commerce site. This not only allows smaller retailers to take advantage of Amazon.com’s massive audience, but also utilize the Amazon.com fulfillment centers strategically placed near airports.
Pricing–the primary means by which customer judge the attractiveness of a product or service–can also be affected due to wider access to customers via online channels. Amazon.com is primarily a retail site with a sales revenue model and generates revenue by taking a small percentage of the sale price of each item that is sold through its website. Amazon also allows companies to advertise their products by paying a fee to be listed as featured products.
Promotion is probably the marketing mix element most impacted by social media. In essence, social media acts as a promotional element or communication channel used to reach customers. Promotional activities include advertising (by using different media), sales promotion (sales and trades promotion), and personal selling activities. It also includes sponsorship marketing, direct marketing, database marketing and public relations. Social networking sites can act as secondary or tertiary corporate sites that integrate and link these promotional elements back to the brand’s messaging. Content published by social media users can also feed into various communication channels (e.g. crowdsourcing ideas for a television commercial) and used to further expand a brand’s reach and presence.