Post COVID-19 when organisations are on budget squeeze and require optimisation on all available marketing budgets, analytics and digital marketing for customer acquisition and follow-up is going to be the way forward.
Analytics is already all the rage in the corporate world these days. All I can say is, it is about time they understood the importance of the right audience: Knowing thy customer.
Organizations have been collecting and hoarding rafts of customer information for years, rarely using it wisely. Take the case of Max, my diabetic dog.
Max, who unfortunately is no more, needed two insulin shots per day. I needed a prescription to get the pen and insulin, the name on the prescription was Max the Dog. Imagine my surprise when the first-time Max received a direct mailer from a major pharma company that manufactures the pens, it was a flyer on how to travel with diabetes. It was a thoughtful gesture on the part of the company, a solid attempt at creating brand loyalty. But the effort was wasted on Max, as he had not any plans to jet off on a holiday any time soon–or ever, for that matter.
Max periodically would receive these flyers, offering tips on living with diabetes. I would always chuckle to myself when they arrived in the mail. But I would also wonder if the company would ever catch on. Surely a company of that size must have some software that ferrets out the hot prospects from those that are, well, ice cold. Alas, I’ll never know.
What I do know, however, is that there is a myriad of new and emerging technologies that are decreasing the likelihood that another person’s diabetic pet will be the recipient of “targeted” marketing. There are many big companies that offer applications that gather and analyze customer information in real-time, affording companies the opportunity for true targeting, cross-selling, and upselling.
The buzz around analytics suggests that companies are anxious to embrace these solutions. And none too soon. The longer companies wait, the more money they may be wasting on misguided marketing.
Shortly after Aakash, my four-year-old Son, and I signed up for Malaysian Airlines’ frequent flier program on the flight to a vacation in Kula Lumpur, we both began receiving direct mail pieces on discount travel packages, car rental offers, etc. What surprised me about this is, while the Insulin pen company may not have had a way to surmise that Max was a dog, Malaysian Airlines must certainly know that Aakash is four. After 15,000 frequent flier miles worth of international travel, his age should be on record somewhere.
I wonder how many other children are receiving costly direct mailers from airlines and other companies? Think of the long-term savings for Malaysian Airlines if the airline had waited until Aakash could read well enough to use the materials to help influence our travel decisions. Or if, instead, Malaysian Airlines sent his age-appropriate materials, like a picture of the twin tower to color, that he could then show off, asking, “Daddy, when can we visit here?”
Now is the time for companies to embrace analytics–to realize the cost savings afforded by truly targeting their marketing efforts, and to realize the sales opportunities that present themselves when sales and service representatives are armed with up-to-date, real-time, targeted customer information. For me, it will not be soon enough, and for companies like the insulin pen manufacturer and Malaysian Airlines, it is not too late.
Written by Alliance Partner Sivasubramaniam Viswanathan