ONLINE+ OFFLINE+ HUMAN Touch Points: It’s what’s working very effectively in marketing and sales.

2018-08-19 by Paul Kostial
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In an age of digital fatigue, offline touch points are being engaged more often by marketing and sales and, not so oddly, performing better than ever, and more so.

 

And there’s many great reasons for it …

• Start with the overwhelm of online we each face daily; many are simply hard-to-reach online, much less get their attention, much less meaningful attention.

• It’s more distracting than many are willing to tolerate and, yes, although there’s a learning curve evolving … i.e. an adaptation timeframe … we’re all flooded with inbound online nuisance constantly these days.

• It can be annoying and, for any company looking to entice new and prior clients, it’s imperative that engagement work well.

 

As a result, many marketing and advertising decision-makers are layering platforms online and offline to garner amplified results.

Just ask Tory Brunker, VP, Marketing, Tech Trade Up:

In my experience, the combination of online and offline marketing are essential to cutting through the clutter, achieving higher ROI, and attracting top B2B targets. I’ve seen as high as a 50% increase in sales ready leads when we layer online and offline with our vital targets.”

And Michael McCarthy, CEO of Inkit, an automated direct mail platform, shares this:

Amazon gets it, for example, that offline channels work. Many companies still are trying to ‘go digital’ so much they’ve put blinders on.  Guaranteed, some people would be shocked to learn that many companies, like Amazon, are going direct mail big time.  May sound shocking, but not so oddly, it’s working well for them.”

What McCarthy is talking about is smart direct mail, i.e. automated, sequenced and channeled tangible media.  It’s no longer simply the same piece for your entire audience, that’s old-school –and best yet, your messaging lands in their hand ­–in their home or office– and, causing heightened response, and increased user interaction.

It’s a tangible touch point of value, and there are many options to heighten the impact, vs. the ‘mass’ impersonal approach of many channels, both online and offline.  Humans respond to appreciation.”

Long-time colleague, Jouette Travis, former SVP, OMD, and former Managing Director at Focus, Carat Dentsu, shares the customer experience:

Let the user specify how they want to be contacted (and contracted).  Instead of pushing a channel on them, let your online and offline channels form naturally.  For example, American Airlines lets you choose text, voice or e-mail, plus apps and more.

However way THEY connect, that’s the way you want to reach them.  This establishes a more powerful channel with amplified interest and, more effective retention both online and offline.”

As more marketing leaders navigate the proper channel balance for their targets, many well-respected in marketing and advertising are increasing investments in offline media, i.e. tangible touch point channels.

Specifically, as they realize that many of their targets are not always online (or ever, for some targets/users).  And, easy clicks in many cases are not generating enough throughput in the sales pipeline, at least for sales to engage, integrate, and close.

 

This applies to most all B2B categories, and many, but not all, B2C categories.  It does vary by product and/or target.

As a result, the balance of ‘layered media’ is returning full swing today, embraced by many, even while cultivating online channels.  Many have already added new expressions of layered offline channels and, they are now garnering even better results with both, specifically by adding tangible touch points. May seem old-school, but it’s working.

Recent study of online vs. online+offline …

  • In a study conducted by a F500® company, they compared the qualified response rates of online-only vs. online+offline side-by-side, meaning they also deleted those leads generated that were of no value, i.e. not qualified for further engagement.

  • Their online-only group delivered less than 1% qualified call-to-action vs. online+offline, which was their existing online platform layered with an Audience Innovation tangible touch point platform, for B2B specifically in this case.

  • Their target was high-level B2B c-suite execs (an enterprise channel), and delivered +56% CTA.  Wow, seriously – AND, this target is considered this company’s most difficult-to-reach of their B2B targets, mostly high-level C-Suite executives.

 

+56% CTA Online+ Offline vs. <1% Online CTA Only

 

It’s not that either is better, specifically – simply, it’s that the two (in combination) produce an exponentially greater volume than either alone, and by a large X-factor. Their sales force was pleased, and had better quality leads as a result.

 

And, it makes sense – tangible touch points last much longer than digital touch points, at least many of them, like 3-weeks vs. 3-seconds in many cases.  And, they express an interest that’s not as common today, while more engaging in-person, and … they stand out more – i.e. they make a bigger statement of interest.  People notice.

 

Advertising innovation expert, Tom Goodwin, EVP, Innovation, Zenith, shares:

When are we going to understand that people do not ‘spend time’ online?  They exist in a world where reality blends the two. Digital stuff is just another channel how we live. It’s not a choice. It’s not a behavior.

We don’t ‘go to the power grid’ to boil a kettle, we just make tea.  In the same way, we don’t do digital banking, online dating or ecommerce, we just send money, go on dates and buy stuff in 2018.

This isn’t semantics, it’s the outlook and mindset we have to have for the modern age, we have to build for this reality not adapt what we have to just about work in it by bolting things on the side.”

So then, let’s add the role of humans in this process:

According to well-known expert, Sangram Vajre, Founder & CMO, Terminus, humans are the most important key in the transaction, in many business/sales conversations:

At the end of the day, regardless of whether you’re in marketing for a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) organization, it’s about creating human-to-human (H2H) connections.

With H2H marketing, it’s about creating a compelling narrative, a story that people will actually care about. It’s extremely rare to get people to care about your brand unless you already have a certain amount of prestige associated with your company.”  Human value.

At Audience Innovation, we call this the ‘Lotsa Itty Bitty Carrots Marketing Platform’ and, all joking aside, it’s essential to see its simplicity.

Each has a role, and each contributes to the valued moments in the customer journey, compelling the path of engagement, and … funneling sales actions.

You’ve got lotsa itty bitty online carrots ‘floating around’ your targets online all day every day, attempting to entice them to engage an interaction with your company.  It’s the combination of both online and offline channels that most effectively engage your most vital targets, unless you have a click-and-buy product/service you’re selling.”

Then, you have bigger carrots that are your offline touch points, whose job is designed to amplify your valued relationship, and vested as a ‘target’ your company will now invest more than ‘just banners’ forward.

These are tangible touch points that deliver direct connection, interest and reaction and, should be coordinated with the sales force to optimize targeting choices, and a simple plan for their interaction in reverse (with the same targets).

 

They’ll know your interest as soon as they receive your first tangible touch point and, they’ll have an amplified response increasing over time, including their greater appreciation for the recognition you have given.  They’ll take note, whether the phone rings or not (yet); it’s a heightened reciprocity that’s positively lodged in their brain.”

The crescendo is your sales force, which is your biggest and most powerful of all marketing carrots – the biggest, when supported properly.  It’s all about driving purchase, one carrot-nudge at a time.”

The ONLINE+OFFLINE+HUMAN Marketing Sequence:

 

The ‘LOTSA ITTY BITTY CARROTS’ Marketing Platform

 

As we’re all planning our target strategies for Q4’18 and into 2019, many are now considering the impact and ROI of their most robust online PLUS offline targeting platforms, along with the validation it’s already working.

Thus, the blended or layered messaging sequence is producing greater results and, creating more engaged end users, qualified end users for our sales force to engage.

 

It’s simple – humans did not stop engaging with tangible touch points of value; they simply have a new intangible option that’s also part of their daily routine.

It’s the ‘lotsa little carrots’ in the marketing equation for your targets and, there’s no denying the baseline impact, and cutting through the clutter while establishing a long-term value asset with each customer/prospect relationship.

 

As marketers, our challenges involve growing everything from building awareness to generating sales results and, 1,000+ other goals and objectives – it’s not easy.

It is, however, very motivating to understand how we’re best-served by engaging our audiences both online and offline and, the value-to-interest equation is increased with each succeeding engagement asset, i.e. sequenced steps online plus offline, engagement and interaction.

As a result, customer-connection is stair-stepped upward via little bitty baby steps.

 

One long-time marketing & sales exec recently said it well:

We’re using valued offline channels more now, simply because we’re drowning in the ‘always everywhere’ overwhelm of online channels that are cluttered, and fragmented.  So, why would we not also be where we are seen bigger, bolder, and without drowning over here?  Specifically, we deploy a simple ‘be where they’re not’ plan – it’s smart layered targeting working best.

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We build impactful story-telling touch point platforms that amplify highly-valued customer connection. It’s a sales-minded valued asset.

Paul C. Kostial – President & CEO, Audience Innovation

OFFICE: 888.241.6634,719 – paul.kostial@audienceinnovation.com

 

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