By Lee Wilson

Source: Searche Engine Journal

It is all too easy to fall into the trap of the digital marketing comfort zone, but this can be a path into complacency, under-performance and ultimately decline.

When marketing campaigns consistently perform year after year and momentum is positive, you may be fooled into thinking that everything is working to near-peak levels with no need to stretch the boundaries or challenge this “everything is going great” sentiment.

If this sounds familiar it is likely (unless you are the only active player in your industry) that results will begin to stagnate and regress, and there is a need to consider a more robust digital strategy.

The solution is being actively aware of new and changing opportunities including technology, industry, audience and associated items, and taking action on them.

Action-taking is key as this fuels a culture of exploration, testing, and refinement required to be an industry leader and maintain closer to peak marketing performance for a longer duration.

In this post, I share five of the most useful marketing approaches to enrich your own strategic plans and increase your robustness to changing external competition.

1. Proximity Marketing & Beacons

The technology for proximity marketing is nothing new, in fact, it has been available since 2013.

What has changed though is the readiness of technology such as Google Beacons for effective marketing use and practical application within more common marketing approaches.

What Are Proximity Beacons?

Beacons are a form of technology that can transmit signals over a certain (generally small) radius.

This means that devices such as mobile phones and GPS can receive marketing messages tied to their geo-location and be pinpoint targeted with relevant messaging.

How Can They Be Used for Marketing?

Proximity marketing and Beacons specifically are being widely used for everything from table service within restaurants through to sending SMS messages with discounts to existing customers when they pass by a store.

Based on a recent article from a colleague of mine “Google Beacons: Is proximity marketing ready to take off in 2020?,” the main benefits for marketing include:

  • Location targeting of people/potential new and repeat business.
  • Mapping of marketing success and closing the online/offline marketing attribution.
  • In-store messaging and promotional offers for hyper-local messaging.
  • Guiding people through entire shopping centers, stadiums, airports, and cities.
  • Gamification.
  • Cross-selling during the buying process (for example in-store related product offers).
  • Loyalty.
  • Much more.

2. Conversational Commerce & Chatbots

Conversational commerce is a bigger opportunity than simply chatbots alone.

However, for the purposes of this post, chatbots are the suggested technology-based action to explore for diversifying and strengthening your strategic plans for 2020.

When Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in 2014, no small part of the strategic thinking was based on the fact that people spend more time in messaging apps than they do on social media.

Chatbots can integrate your business within external platforms (such as Facebook) allowing you to reach your audience on the messaging apps they prefer.

As chatbot integration can include your website, social media channels, and external messaging apps you can fill the gaps within your business coverage and provide an ‘always available’ face to your organization.

When skewed towards conversational commerce you are able to provide controlled and consistent expertise, shorten the distance from awareness to purchase and facilitate offline access to information that users demand online and instantly.

What Are the Marketing Benefits of Chatbots?

The benefits will vary massively based on your objectives, application and successful implementation of them for marketing but commonly expected gains would include:

Improved Customer Service​s & Support

Helping existing and prospective customers understand the product/service which is best suited to their bespoke needs and budget.

The ability to quickly providing answers to questions and filtering more complicated inquiries for your Customer Service/Support Team.

​Financial Savings Versus Traditional Staffing

Implementing a chatbot is considerably cheaper than hiring employees to perform tasks that can be automated and handled by a bot/computer.

This form of removing and reducing manual and repeated activity from companies can support increased efficiencies, time and cost savings for investment elsewhere. Chatbots can also work on smaller budgets.

Proactive Customer Engagement​ and Increased Nurturing Through the Buying and Servicing Funnels

The ability to initiate a conversation with your customers based on know behavior and activity triggers.

One practical example might be communication as part of any ordering and delivery process.

Generating Valuable Insights & Obtaining a More Thorough Understanding of Your Customers

Data is marketing fuel and a performance enhancer. By using the additional knowledge obtained from chatbot use, you can refine and maximize your marketing tactics.

As an example of this in action, the new forms of user engagement and data can be recombined with other existing data sources to:

  • Improve products/services.
  • Fill information gaps on the site.
  • Fix newly discovered barriers to conversion.

​24/7 Customer Support​

As discussed earlier, chatbots are ‘always on’ and can handle concurrent user interactions at the same time.

This means that there is a reduced loss of potential business from people so there‘s no waiting in telephone queues for information, or dropping out of the purchase funnel before getting the brand effectively in front of them.

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