I recently attended a meeting with Siegel+Gale, where the conversation turned to large brands and their tendency to engage in “drive-by marketing.” The concept immediately resonated with me. It’s something we’re all guilty of from time to time.
So what is “drive-by marketing" exactly? Simply put, it’s the banner ad campaign you launched that ended in a dead-end customer journey. It’s the event you outsourced and didn’t provide the right community or follow-up for your customers. It’s the microsite with no human engagement. It's the note you sent from a disconnected ID, or the clickbait you served up that didn’t deliver on the promised value.
You get the idea. The list of possible dead-ends is almost endless. It's incredibly hard to truly engage with your customers. Here are three tips to avoid drive-by marketing and build meaningful engagement.
1. Know Your Customers’ Motivations. Build a buyer journey based on how you expect your customers to interact with your brand. Who are they? What do they want? Build in the psychology of how people are likely to connect with your company based on their observed behavior. Retailers do this well. They figure out, “My buyer is a young woman, who loves premium brands and status and wants to be on-trend.” Then they sell into that vision. Make it personal, and keep it human.
2. Don’t Forget to Build a Relationship. A good customer relationship isn’t a one-night stand. You need to build a real connection with your customers. No matter what your product or service, there’s always someone else waiting in line to sell it. What sets you apart? Why will customers align with your brand? Do you serve a greater mission like Ben & Jerry’s? Do you promise a superior product like Mercedes-Benz? Do you deliver outstanding customer service like Nordstrom? Build an authentic connection with your customer that delivers value and they will stay. If not, they will stray.
3. Create Real—and Lasting—Engagement. Do you offer ways for your customers to voice their opinion, respond to you, and actively engage with your company? Warm, personal and relevant communications work well — like an invitation to a client counsel or an advisory board. Or access to an invitation-only event. At the risk of sounding corny, you need to care about your customers, show genuine empathy for them and be there to provide value.
If you want to prevent any more attempts at #drivebymarketing, remember these three concepts. It’s time we all get out of the habit of just passing through and spend our time building personal, relevant connections.