Context and community matter

Daniel Morel, global Chairman and CEO of Wunderman, brand leader in direct marketing shared his thinking on the tidal wave of consumer data heading in our direction.He also talked to me on how we as marketers need to adapt our behaviour to exploit the opportunity. Or be washed away.

Daniel Morel, global Chairman and CEO of Wunderman, brand leader in direct marketing shared his thinking on the tidal wave of consumer data heading in our direction.

He also talked to me on how we as marketers need to adapt our behaviour to exploit the opportunity. Or be washed away.

Daniel calls this new phase Marketing 3.0, and bases it on four key consumer questions:

Geography:  Where am I at the moment? 

Context: What am I doing right now?

Community: With whom am I talking?

Commerce: How much is it and how am I going to pay for it?

Why consumer questions? Well, this is part of the fundamental change that is coming. Instead of marketers planning their five P’s, four C’s or even three F’s. It is going to be consumers who are calling the shots.

Let’s talk about geography first.  Location-based services are becoming increasingly common. And soon they will be offered in Africa.

Smart phones equipped with GPS give marketers the chance to reach out and interact with consumers at the point-of-purchase. And that’s very powerful.   In simple terms you search for the product you want, and then buy it at a store close to you via location-based shopping services.

Over half of mobile users in the US say location-based sales; promotions and coupons would attract them to a nearby retail store the most.

However, knowledge of location means nothing, unless you can use the information and you know how the application works.  So growth depends on how successful marketers are at harnessing the data and serving it up in the right way.

This year, smart phones already represent 33% of all handsets worldwide. And here in Africa we have seen how affordable they are becoming, with the launch of the Android operating system.

Recently Nokia ran a campaign to increase awareness of Nokia’s navigation services. And to get consumes to experience them in a fun and engaging way.  So it dramatized the benefit.  By creating a 50-metre tall, 60-ton motorized signpost and letting people send messages to anywhere in the world. 

Nokia is well aware that Mobile marketing starts with social engagement and ends with commerce.  Getting people used to using GPS now will pay dividends later.

Results for the campaign include 862,000 views; 29 per cent visitor returns and an increase of 129 per cent of unique visitors to its site.

North Face is a sports equipment brand in the U.S.  The brand owner wanted to bring its motto “Never Stop Exploring” to China.  North Face believes that anyone can be an adventurer.

To make Chinese believe it, North Face encouraged people to explore their own country. They asked people to claim location first by planting virtual flags. Then developed an integrated campaign with a strong mobile component.

The results were impressive. There were more than two million unique visitors to the campaign website and nearly 1.2 million people saw the live on-ground events in Beijing and Shanghai.

More than 651,000 red flags were planted during the campaign period. The champion consumer planted an amazing 4,000 red flags. And store sales climbed 106 per cent in days.

Now let’s look at context, which is becoming increasingly important.

Outgoing Google CEO Eric Schmidt: “We know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are. With the power of individual targeting—the technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.”

Wunderman’s founder Lester Wunderman was calling for addressable media more than 20 years ago. And right now, applications can propose proactively, in real-time what is relevant to us at that moment and place.

Daniel Morel’s prediction:  ‘In 2011 we will be "pulling' and "searching" less…. because our devices will know how to recognize what we are looking for. ‘

The huge electronics retailer Best Buy wanted to be a resource for customers beyond their stores.

So it developed a unique way to connect with customers.  Through an “@twelpforce”  Twitter account to provide instant customer service.

The idea was simple. Best Buy empowered employees to staff their Twitter account. And answer consumer questions.

Now customers can use their own Twitter accounts to ask questions directly to the “Twelpforce” and any Best Buy employee can provide answers.

In addition to the obvious results of building a community, @twelpforce has to date provided over 40,000 answers to customer inquiries. And over 3000 employees signed up to answer questions

Here’s one more example that highlights the importance of context. 

Austrian Airlines wanted to boost sales to its 20 “red ticket” European destinations.  These destinations compete directly with discount airlines. 

Rather than compete on price, the airline added value and created a totally new revenue stream in the process.

Austrian Airlines created the ‘red guide’ platform to add value in the form of travel tips from travellers for travellers.  Tips included “best of” for each destination city, what and where to EAT, SEE, STAY, and SHOP.  The tips were easily shared on the ‘red guide’ platform as well as on Facebook and Twitter. 

There is even an iPhone App that synchronizes in real-time with a personal guide on the web portal.  And the app can be used without roaming costs! 

The portal has become the hub of a CRM-engine. With the data captured, the airline can contact travelers before their journeys with customized offers or content. But can we begin this yet in Africa?  Of course we can. Indeed some of us already are.

Chairman, Young & Rubicam Brands Africa

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