Shawn Anne Buttschau, Senior Account Director, CPG
Are consumers more demanding than ever? Many of the clients and marketers I work with seem to think so. They tell me that they’re finding their consumers seeking out greater choice, continual opportunities for personalization and a loud, clear voice in the conversation. If a brand can’t offer them an engaging, frictionless experience, they won’t bother to engage. And they aren’t shy about expressing disappointment with a brand on their social networks.
Consumer demand is putting pressure on companies in every sector to stay on their toes. Products and services must not only meet quality expectations, but also deliver on a new standard of “freshness:” the ability to provide new experiences, interactions and conversations. The good news is that CPG brands are increasingly in a position to create these interactions with the consumer on a one-to-one basis.
The conversation begins
Consumer promotions have been a long-time staple in the overarching CPG consumer marketing strategy. These promotions give consumers the opportunity to participate in enter-to-win or reward for purchase activities, and they have had impressive success in driving sales and creating favorable brand impressions. What’s new is that brands now are leveraging emerging technologies to deliver these experiences with more relevance and consumer value with the added bonus of gathering crucial analytics. Now, these promotions can serve as a valuable first step in ongoing and personalized engagement with each consumer.
While the “sizzle” of the promotion – the theme, branding and creative execution – is absolutely vital to its success, so is the “steak”– the behind-the-scenes work needed to create a well-executed activity that lives up to those high consumer expectations. In fact, promotion administration functions are a critical (and often overlooked) consideration in designing a top-quality brand experience.
Three critical considerations
Here are three important factors in ensuring your promotion stays on-point:
#1 Design with your audience in mind and track how they respond: Every aspect of the promotion — including messaging, platform selection and follow-up channel – should correspond to your targeted demographic. Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve got a fresh new Snapchat promotion that’s a perfect fit for your product’s young demographic, but you “plug & play” your channel for consumer questions through a 1-800 telephone number. That’s a communication method that seems antiquated to your target audience. You’ve got to keep each touchpoint throughout experience on-target from the participant’s perspective, and in this case, you’d definitely want to consider an alternative for customer service interaction that better aligns with your consumer’s preferences, like SMS, for example.
And you’ll want to monitor results at teach touchpoint, because there’s always something to learn about the how-why-when of each promotional element. If you create with the audience in mind and keep track of their behaviors, your promotion will run more smoothly, the overall experience will be heightened and you’ll boost your chances for more positive social media buzz, too.
#2 Measure the right things: Often promotion administration functions – and the providers that offer these services – are evaluated solely on factors such as operational efficiency and cost. But you should also be aware of other factors that are just as important. If you’re using a contact center, for example, what are your hold times? Have you monitored call quality? Have contact center agents been able to strengthen brand perceptions and, if it’s in your promotional objectives, to upsell on products or services? Be sure you evaluate these indicators, because your customers certainly will.
#3 Don’t underplay the value of promotion administration: While consumers may never tell you “thanks for the timely communication,” or “I appreciate how quickly I received my reward,” having a seamless administrative process in place WILL make a difference in their brand experience, whether they realize it or not. They will definitely tell you – and everyone else – if it doesn’t meet their expectations. Be sure your promotion planning teams are making administration a priority, not an afterthought.
And if you’re looking for an agency with a passion for excellence at every touchpoint in the promotional process, then please feel free to contact me to begin the conversation with YA, an industry leader in turning even first-time customers into loyal brand advocates who take action, buy more and spread the word.