Alok Ranjan is a marketing specialist and management consultant based in Mumbai, India. He believes, brands are caught in a maze of technology and economic dynamics, caused by disruptive forces, which are changing the way consumers interact with brands. He blogs at www.alokr.com
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Be transparent, or perish! Brand loyalty is a passé.
The customer today expects a no-nonsense attitude from brands. Amid a multitude of technology platforms to leverage, customers demand a unique a brand experience at each touch point. While brands are busy adapting their cookie-cutter campaigns to meet consumer expectations, they are prone to practices that can adversely affect their reputation.
We are aware that technology democratization has provided a new dimension to the consumer-brand chemistry. This interaction in the #digital economy is based on the foundation of Content (to inform & entertain), Collaboration (to develop a relationship) and Consistency (to build trust). Brands not abiding by the troika of the above 3Cs of digital marketing are bound to commit deadly sins that could lead to a reputation crisis. It is imperative that we delve into 7 Deadly Sins of Digital Marketing to help brands identify and chart a course correction.
LUST – The secret of winning the connected customer does not depend on your marketing budget, but implications of a well thought-out digital strategy. While market leaders have gradually adapted their strategy to engage with their customers, starters and laggards are busy leveraging a dirty marketing tactic of purchasing fake followers and likes. In the era of brand authenticity and transparency, committing this sin can be detrimental to a brand’s success story. Six months ago, Instagram purged over 29% of the fake followers that is equivalent to 18.9 million users in 24 hours, as brands and #consumers strive for real engagement.
GLUTTONY – Powered by Digital technologies, brands can now trigger consumer experience at any point along the purchase decision journey. This has allowed brands to customize messaging per the consumer demand. However, many leading brands are in a quandary in enabling real time engagement along the decision journey. Message customization is taking the baton from mass campaigns that irate customers and spam brand touch points. Per Cisco’s Senderbase spam overview, in 2014-15, the number of average daily email spam volume exceeds 240 billion messages. Marketers should understand the importance of customer privacy and always indulge in permission marketing coupled with empathy to establish connect.
GREED – Discounts are carefully engineered illusion crafted to lure customers. Advertising Guru, David Ogilvy quotes in “Confessions of an Advertising Man” “A cut price offer can induce people to try a brand, but they return to their habitual brands as if nothing had happened.” This is very relevant to the current market scenario where discounts are negatively affecting brands’ bottom line. It is no wonder that leading e-tailers such as, Groupon, Flipkart and Snapdeal are experiencing significant hit on their margins.
SLOTH – Nothing can be more detrimental to a brand than adopting a “One size fits all” strategy while engaging with customers in the digital ecosystem. The thriving digital platforms serve a unique experience to customers. The uniqueness of each digital platform are not only restricted to the way consumer-brand interacts but includes, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral uniqueness of their active users as well. It is important for brands to understand each platform and its reach and accordingly, plan execution of a holistic and impactful digital strategy.
WRATH – In the digital ecosystem, it is important to segregate between “Shout and Conversation”. Brands that are being braggarts are often not heard from their customers. Treat customers as human beings, as brands that interact with customers often command greater customer loyalty. Digital platforms provide an equal play to all brands, but a brand that engages well with its consumer will win the loyalty test. The consumer in the connect world is wary of unimaginative and unintelligent automated communication. Be genuine, show compassion, and actively engage with consumers to succeed in the digital era.
ENVY – Aping competition blindfolded is never a good marketing strategy. Hijacking marketing campaigns that are trending often is not a suitable reason for brands to celebrate. Brands must define their objectives and evaluate the need of their consumers before jumping to hijack a trending campaign. We do remember #McDStories and# waitrosereasons. These two campaigns fell victim to their own PR stint and negative comments from customers went all over the online world. The customer expects empathy from their choicest brands and to establish a connect; brands need a carefully strategized initiative that fits to the demand of their consumers.
PRIDE – Content is the primary driver of your digital marketing initiatives. Getting your content strategy right is the prelude to a successful campaign. Nevertheless, striking the right chord every time is debatable. Brands with a history of success often display arrogance and soon find themselves discordant with their consumers. Many brands have suffered a consumer backlash on digital channels for confusing pride with arrogance. Typical cases of failed digital efforts highlight “lack of consumer-brand engagement” and “we are the best” attitude of brands that significantly affect them in the digital world.
The successful digital marketing strategy perpetuates a better brand positioning and it is necessary for brands to avoid these 7 Deadly Sins of Digital Marketing to succeed in the hyper-competitive market.
Do share your take on the above sins that are affecting brands in the digital economy.