Just have a skim through the article that hit our inbox today. It’s refreshing to see that the digital revolution is causing as much angst and navel gazing in the marketing world as it has in the quaint old world of book publishing.
Today, brands can reach consumers twenty-four hours a day through social media, text messages and cold calling (yuck). But do such techniques really enhance customer loyalty and customer engagement? As simple consumers ourselves, we’re doubtful. Will an allegedly humorous YouTube video that is designed to go viral really help brands communicate, or will it simply create a brief chuckle and a short wait for the next piece of wackiness to come along?
Lara O’Reilly talks about the phenomenon in this article, referring to it as Trigger Happy TV. It seems to us that these campaigns focus on the medium and not the message – ‘There’s Facebook – we’d better use…’ seems to be the default position. Of course, customer loyalty and customer engagement can be enhanced by viral campaigns, so long as they are used intelligently. One of our favourites from a few years back (you’ve probably seen it, over 2 million people have) is Robert Carlyle in the Johnnie Walker video. That’s truly brilliant.
So what else works? Let’s look at some of the latest devices – the iPhone; the iPad; the Kindle. Customers can easily access the content they need at the precise time they need it – and unsurprisingly, they keep coming back for more. Big presentation to give? Well hone your presentation skills on your iPhone in the cab en route to your audience. Off on holiday in a few weeks? Access some toning tips on your Kindle during your lunch break. Valuable useful content, delivered to consumers at precisely the time they want to use it, is a fabulous way to develop customer engagement and build customer loyalty – and there need be no pesky texts or embarrassing videos in sight.
I was struck by this article in Marketing Week, ‘Heineken to build ‘real-time marketing’ drive around mobile, relating to Heineken’s new marketing push.
Real time marketing to consumers – communicating with them at the precise moment they are engaging in an activity or an interest – seems to be the buzz idea at present. And of course the ubiquitous smart phone, combined with Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, lends itself perfectly to this. Communication with consumers becomes dynamic, instant and relevant.
The same thing is happening on television. Think of the ads you see just before a live football game, offering you odds on how long it will take Luis Suárez to chew a defender’s arm off completely. It’s perfect – a captive audience that can be sold to when they’re most responsive.
We’ve seen this at Infinite Ideas with the rise and rise of e-books. For the first time, on impulse, you can download content when you want it and start acting on it immediately. It’s the night before your big interview? Well you can download myriad guides on interview techniques instantly. They’ll provide hot tips for success that you can access to bolster your chances right up to sitting in the waiting room. And many of these e-books are free, or at least a fraction of the price you would pay for a physical printed book.
Book publishers dealing in the consumer reference sector need to start thinking in this way. If someone feels a nasty twinge in their back they’re pretty unlikely to hobble down to their local Waterstone’s and browse the shelves. More likely they’ll go online – and they will pay for good content.
Books – electronic and printed – are still relevant in this digital age, more so in fact, given that the internet offers up swathes of content much of which is unedited and sometimes just plain wrong. Content in a book from a reputable publisher will have been properly researched, edited and proofread.
So the challenge for conventional publishers is how to respond to the ever changing digital market place. The more enlightened ones are looking to offer content through as many platforms as possible – from print to app and onwards – all with the ultimate aim of delivering great content to consumers at the precise point they want to consume.